Sun, March 29

Community's support needed to become dark-sky community

Steve Nelson

Steve Nelson

Due to a unique opportunity for our community, I am devoting this month's article on becoming a Dark-Sky Community. At the July meeting, Big Park Regional Coordinating Council received a presentation from Joanne Kendrick from Keep Sedona Beautiful about the difference between Yavapai County's Dark-Sky Ordinances and being a designated Dark-Sky Community.

Dark-Sky ordinances were enacted over 15 years ago by the county to protect the special and unique night sky we enjoy. Similar ordinances have been enacted by many cities and other counties in Northern Arizona.

Being a Dark-Sky Community requires designation by the International Dark-Sky Association. An IDA designated dark-sky community is a city, town, municipality or other legally organized community that has shown exceptional dedication to the preservation of the night sky through the implementation and enforcement of quality lighting, dark-sky education and citizen support of dark skies.

Our area's unique natural beauty - its spectacular daylight landscape and stunning night sky - is the primary reason why people move or visit here. Hence, the community must strive to preserve it in order to promote its economic basis and satisfy its residents.

The dark-sky designation would benefit our tourist industry by expanding into the growing astronomy tourism, aid astronomy research (a major factor in Northern Arizona), provide a free advertisement of our community, lower our energy costs with dark-sky compliant lighting and allow the use of the IDA Dark-Sky Community logo by the community.

Currently, only five communities in the USA have been designated with Flagstaff being the first in 2001. The City of Sedona is expected to receive its designation this month.

The requirements for designation include: Dark-Sky ordinances for outside lighting, 10 successful efforts to reduce light pollution, education on dark-sky compliance with more effective and energy-efficient lighting, broad community support for dark-sky and obtaining the designation, night-sky light measurements in the community and submission of the application to the IDA.

The Big Park Council has established a Big Park Dark-Sky Committee chaired by Linda Exley to work towards the achievement of this designation. We need the community's support and involvement to attain this designation.

That includes the compliance with the Dark-Sky Ordinances and the conversion of grandfathered non-compliant lighting to compliant lighting. IDA recommended Dark-Sky lighting reduces light pollution and promotes security and energy efficiency.

For more information about IDA, visit its website at If you want more information about Big Park Dark-Sky designation, want to assist in completing the application or want to be a part of the committee, e-mail

The Big Park Regional Coordinating Council is raising funds to create a memorial for our long-time resident, Joan McClelland.

With Joan's sudden passing, we were all shocked. Our goal is to remember her with the planting of a tree with an associated bench at the Kiwanis Park in the VOC. We are almost halfway to our goal of $2,000.

If you wish to make a donation, please send a check to BPRCC - Joan McClelland Memorial, P O Box 20248, Sedona, AZ 86341. This remembrance is in recognition of the time and effort she gave to make this a better community.
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