Ashley Pipkin, Natural Sounds and Night Skies Coordinator for the National Park Service’s Pacific West Region & Coordinator for the Basin and Range Dark Sky Cooperative
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“People across the Basin and Range are becoming more and more aware of the amazing night skies that surrounds them. Many communities living below these star filled skies desire to keep the night skies pristine while also capitalizing on the economic benefits of tourism as people come from around the globe to experience these magnificent landscapes under a starry sky.”
PROTECTING A PRECIOUS RESOURCE
Natural night sky environments are restorative inspirational places for people and are essential for all living things on our planet. In today’s developed world there are very few places where we can access a truly natural night sky. The recent and rapid increase of artificial light at night has removed access to this precious resource for many. Over 80% of North Americans can no longer see the Milky Way from where they live — a staggering statistic!
The Basin and Range Dark Sky Cooperative (BRDSC) began as an effort to protect one of the most natural night skies in the lower 48 with a mission to reduce further loss of nocturnal environments and to safeguard access to the inspiration, education and enjoyment of the night sky.
As the Natural Sounds and Night Skies Coordinator for the National Park Service’s Pacific West Region as well as Coordinator for the newly established BRDSC, I have stood on many mountaintops collecting night sky measurements in some of the most epic landscapes in the west. The data from these measurements show light domes that dot the horizon emphasizing the need to work together to reduce our impact and preserve opportunities to enjoy these amazing and increasingly rare star-filled landscapes.
People across the Basin and Range are becoming more and more aware of the threats to the amazing night sky that surrounds them. Many communities living beneath these star filled skies desire to keep them pristine while also capitalizing on the economic benefits of tourism as people come from around the globe to experience these magnificent landscapes under a starry sky.
Partners throughout the BRDSC can take measurable actions like educating the public or eliminating wasteful use of artificial light at night. Even small actions will advance our shared mission to protect night skies throughout the Basin and Range. Following in the model of the Colorado Plateau Dark Sky Cooperative, we hope to encourage all of our neighbors to become stewards of the night.
In its early stages, the BRDSC hopes to inspire a growing community of night sky enthusiasts including but not limited to communities, tribes, businesses, state agencies, federal agencies, nonprofits and citizens in a collaborative community to enhance and protect natural dark skies. If you are located in the Basin and Range or nearby we would love to have you join us in celebrating the night sky together.
Come for the Cosmos in the Basin and Range Dark Sky Cooperative!
Follow the Basin and Range Dark Sky Cooperative on Facebook @brdarkskycooperative and look for their new website brdarkskies.org coming soon! Ashley can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.