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Dark Sky Land Revisited...

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#26 jrbarnett

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Posted 16 August 2014 - 10:02 AM



What elevation is the land at? Once the local meth heads find out about your container it will be emptied so don't store any valuables.  If there is any water to be had the pot growers are a consideration too. Grading may require a permit and if you share the road with other land owners, maintenance cost sharing may be an issue as many rural land owners will refuse to share costs if they find you are making improvements on your own dime.  Make sure there is deeded access and check the property corners as fences can be off by a lot.  Old non-documented easements used by neighbors can be a problem as they may have prescriptive easements. I looked at a large parcel that looked very attractive on paper but a Google Earth view showed multiple easements that made the land virtually unusable.

 

I assume you have checked the skies at night but  I would think there would be monster sky glow to the north and east. As I have found being in a dark blue zone still means a lot of sky glow in certain directions. Consider growth potential as your dark skies may only last a few years.

The skies are decent.

 

OFLI_PNM_MilkyWay2_110828.jpg

 

I'll hire the meth heads to do the grading, and set up a barter arrangement with the growers.  Call me "Patron".   :grin:

 

There's really very little growth potential.  County roads are unimproved and twisty.  There's no agriculture potential, toxic cleanup concerns for developers, and an inhospitable climate much of the year.  Perfect for astronomy, camping, hunting, mining, pagan rites, etc.  Not much good for full time living though.  Hills cut off any potential light domes.  These properties are multiple valleys from developed areas in both the central valley to the east and south tip of silicon valley to the west.  

 

- Jim


Edited by jrbarnett, 16 August 2014 - 10:12 AM.


#27 csrlice12

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Posted 16 August 2014 - 10:22 AM

"You'd want to carry a boatload of liability insurance in case a trespasser breaks their neck on the property, etc."

 

.......or stupidly starts one of those famous California light and smoke shows on your property that spreads, and spreads, and spreads.......



#28 Mike B

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Posted 16 August 2014 - 01:16 PM

I assume you have checked the skies at night but  I would think there would be monster sky glow to the north and east. As I have found being in a dark blue zone still means a lot of sky glow in certain directions. Consider growth potential as your dark skies may only last a few years.

From the site our small group used we typically saw some Fresno skyglow to the east, hardly "monsterous", a bit of Salinas skyglow to the west, even less offensive, precious little to the north... and gorgeous darkness to the south- and EVERYwhere above 30-degrees!

 

Per the linked DarkSkyFinder map, our site was in the 'purple', NE of the Pinnacles; the land the OP is considering i suspect is in the 'grey' region more east-ish of the Pinnacles. It's quite dry out there, clear skied, tho sometimes dusty brown for horizons... notable extinction near the horizons... and this, too, likely accentuates skyglow effects. Temp extremes all year: hundred-plus all summer, nites sometimes don't get below the seventies... fine for us "visual" folks, yet my A/P buddies often had serious cooling issues with their camera gear. Winter nites frequent the teens, and bone-dry at that. Turns skin into sandpaper. Either that or it's too wet to access off-road locations.

 

Water fast becoming the new "gold-rush" out here, it seems hard to conceive of yet more development... so i'd seriously doubt the major LP contributors are gonna double their offerings anytime soon. FWIW, San Benito County is a "dark-sky" county, but that outlook getting traction elsewhere, like major pop centers in neighboring counties, is a tough sell. Kudos to them that push therefore! :bow:

 

That delightfully placed grey-zone on the linked map may seem attractive... but unless ya have John Muir genes in yer tree, 'twould be a nice place to visit, seasonally, but hardly one to settle into. ;)



#29 TCW

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Posted 16 August 2014 - 02:47 PM

How much road will you have to maintain?  It looks like that could be a major concern. If it were me I would either buy or rent a good 4 wheel drive tractor for road maintenance and other chores. I have 40 acres and a good tractor is an essential survival tool. Another essential tool will be a good chainsaw, not one of those home center cheapies. I recommend Stihl.


Edited by TCW, 16 August 2014 - 02:51 PM.


#30 jrbarnett

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Posted 16 August 2014 - 11:56 PM

How much road will you have to maintain?  It looks like that could be a major concern. If it were me I would either buy or rent a good 4 wheel drive tractor for road maintenance and other chores. I have 40 acres and a good tractor is an essential survival tool. Another essential tool will be a good chainsaw, not one of those home center cheapies. I recommend Stihl.

The county maintained roads touch each parcel, and each has graded and in one case gravel driveway entrances.

 

I would leave the property largely au naturel; not planning on doing anything to it other than maintaining access to the telescope pad/camping site.

 

If a tree falls in the woods, it falls in the woods.  I don't need no stinking chainsaws.  :grin:

 

I'd probably spend a bit to improve the access drives so they are well compacted and graveled, and also install a gate at the county road entrance, but beyond that, I'd leave it wild.

 

Tent camping and for extended stays, rent a honey pot.

 

I don't even need on-site water.  I'll do what I do when I camp elsewhere - truck my water in.

 

- Jim



#31 TCW

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Posted 17 August 2014 - 01:26 AM

The chainsaw suggestion was born out of my experiences with trees falling across roads at inconvenient times. That you have country maintained roads is a big plus. Brush has a tendency to take over if let go. Remember that fire is a part of nature there!   ;)

 

Brushing and thinning trees simulates the effects of fire without the problems!


Edited by TCW, 17 August 2014 - 01:29 AM.


#32 cwilson

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Posted 18 August 2014 - 10:46 PM

"Don't get me wrong.  The Peninsula and South Bay have huge advantages.  Civilized, educated people, great services and amenities, wonderful diversity, great public schools, tremendous employment opportunities,etc.  But for that magnificence you must pay a princely sum to live like the prince's footman in terms of quality of abode.  There are downsides to packing up and leaving Rome for the hinterlands of the Empire."

 

Barbarians? :mrevil:  :step:



#33 Mike B

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Posted 18 August 2014 - 11:07 PM

 

Barbarians? :mrevil:  :step:

 

Well, if ya wander far enough south, you'll start to run into Santa Barbarians. Does that count?


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#34 Peter Natscher

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Posted 20 August 2014 - 09:10 PM

 



I got curious and looked up the properties you're talking about. Had no idea you could get that much land for that cheap. I guess I'm a little skewed living on the peninsula where a basically empty lot on my street just sold for $600k.

 

How much are you gonna charge for an annual camping pass?  ;)

I'd actually consider some kind of partnership scenario (i.e., 10 people pony up $10k each or 20 people pony up $5k each for undivided perpetual astro-camping use access rights) or perhaps donation of the land to a non-profit open space trust of some sort in exchange for exclusive retained access and camping rights.

 

The ridiculously high prices on the Peninsula are what drove me out of Palo Alto and Menlo Park to Sonoma County.

 

The land in question is really cheap for a reason though.  It's relatively hard to get to.  The county roads leading to at least one of the properties are unpaved and impassable in wet weather, so use would be seasonal.  Both properties require a high clearance and potentially 4 wheel drive vehicle to access the best campsites located on them.  It's almost impossible to monitor the properties adequately as a remote owner.  You'd want to carry a boatload of liability insurance in case a trespasser breaks their neck on the property, etc.

 

So there's a lot to think about for sure.  But those were the closest large blue-gray zone parcels to Petaluma that I could find for $1000 an acre or less.

 

Regards,

 

Jim

 

Jim,

 

Why are you looking 4 hours drivng across the busy Bay Area for a dark patch of land?  Isn't there anything to your north and closer to you?  Mendocino County?  Or are there to many armed pot growers up there?  :banjodance:

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Edited by Peter Natscher, 20 August 2014 - 09:30 PM.


#35 jrbarnett

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Posted 20 August 2014 - 09:37 PM

 

 



I got curious and looked up the properties you're talking about. Had no idea you could get that much land for that cheap. I guess I'm a little skewed living on the peninsula where a basically empty lot on my street just sold for $600k.

 

How much are you gonna charge for an annual camping pass?  ;)

I'd actually consider some kind of partnership scenario (i.e., 10 people pony up $10k each or 20 people pony up $5k each for undivided perpetual astro-camping use access rights) or perhaps donation of the land to a non-profit open space trust of some sort in exchange for exclusive retained access and camping rights.

 

The ridiculously high prices on the Peninsula are what drove me out of Palo Alto and Menlo Park to Sonoma County.

 

The land in question is really cheap for a reason though.  It's relatively hard to get to.  The county roads leading to at least one of the properties are unpaved and impassable in wet weather, so use would be seasonal.  Both properties require a high clearance and potentially 4 wheel drive vehicle to access the best campsites located on them.  It's almost impossible to monitor the properties adequately as a remote owner.  You'd want to carry a boatload of liability insurance in case a trespasser breaks their neck on the property, etc.

 

So there's a lot to think about for sure.  But those were the closest large blue-gray zone parcels to Petaluma that I could find for $1000 an acre or less.

 

Regards,

 

Jim

 

Jim,

 

Why are you looking 4 hours drivng across the busy Bay Area for a dark patch of land?  Isn't there anything to your north and closer to you?  Mendocino County?  Or are there to many armed pot growers up there?  :banjodance:

 

Southern horizons, amigo.  All good things astronomical are closer to the equator.

 

- Jim



#36 Mike B

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Posted 21 August 2014 - 02:16 PM

 

 

Why are you looking 4 hours drivng across the busy Bay Area for a dark patch of land?  Isn't there anything to your north and closer to you?  Mendocino County?  Or are there to many armed pot growers up there?  :banjodance:

 

Southern horizons, amigo.  All good things astronomical are closer to the equator.

Yeah, was wonderin' that same think. Nice graphic, Peter!

 

Based on info from this website, it looks like this effort & investment would net you ~2.75 degrees of s.horizon.

 

Over in the 'Reflectors' forum, we typically try to dissuade folks from replacing their current Dob for a 1.5% aperture increase.

;)



#37 Peter Natscher

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Posted 21 August 2014 - 04:18 PM

 

 

 

Why are you looking 4 hours drivng across the busy Bay Area for a dark patch of land?  Isn't there anything to your north and closer to you?  Mendocino County?  Or are there to many armed pot growers up there?  :banjodance:

 

Southern horizons, amigo.  All good things astronomical are closer to the equator.

Yeah, was wonderin' that same think. Nice graphic, Peter!

 

Based on info from this website, it looks like this effort & investment would net you ~2.75 degrees of s.horizon.

 

Over in the 'Reflectors' forum, we typically try to dissuade folks from replacing their current Dob for a 1.5% aperture increase.

;)

 

If that's true, 2.75 degrees gain of southern skies wouldn't do it for me.  A site's seeing and darkness is paramount where ever you observe from.  GSSP is  41 deg. N. but offers Bortle 2 skies, definitely worth driving north to.








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