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cliff mygatt
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 01/27/09

Loc: Kitsap County, WA
2014 Table Mountain Star Party
      #6180635 - 11/07/13 09:47 AM

TMSP has announced next year's location. It will be at Eden Valley Ranch again and here is why from the website:

TMSPA continues to work with the Forest Service regarding the use of the Lion Rock / Table Mountain location for our event. Currently, the situation is that the Forest Service is still examining if they will be issuing Special Use Permits for the area in 2014 and beyond. There are many safety concerns with the site due to the burned trees in the area and the potential for them to fall, either just from the fire damage or in conjunction with wind and weather. The danger is such that the Forest Service has posted a sign on the Table Mountain Road regarding the danger of falling trees, warning that you "proceed at your own risk" in entering Forest Service lands.

Through conversations with our contacts in the Forest Service, the general opinion that has been reached is that if TMSPA were to be issued a Special Use Permit for 2014, that it would be severely restricted in terms of the area open for TMSPA to operate within as compared to years prior due to the potential danger of falling trees in areas typically used during the Table Mountain Star Party. One of our obligations as an organization is to take all due and reasonable precaution to protect our attendees while providing the best possible star party experience possible. Making use of a potentially dangerous location and being restricted even further in the number of attendees we can accommodate are not aligned with returning to Table Mountain in 2014.

As such, the TMSPA Directors have chosen to return to Eden Valley for TMSP 2014.

We will continue working with the Forest Service to determine when we will be able to return to our namesake site.


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Stacy
Star Partyer
*****

Reged: 09/15/02

Loc: Seattle, WA
Re: 2014 Table Mountain Star Party new [Re: cliff mygatt]
      #6181039 - 11/07/13 01:11 PM

Hmmmm... Didn't seem to stop the horse enthusiast group that was issued a special permit last year and occupied ALL the same traditional TMSP areas. I smell a rat.

Regardless, if that is the "official" word on the subject, I do not see a return to Table in the near future. I would suggest a name change to lessen confusion on the matter. Something like Washington State Star Party (Formerly "Table Mountain"). Seems silly to call it anything "mountain" when in fact it's in a valley!


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zerro1
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 08/02/09

Loc: Smokey Point , 48.12°N 122.25...
Re: 2014 Table Mountain Star Party new [Re: cliff mygatt]
      #6181051 - 11/07/13 01:20 PM

Thanks Cliff...

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zerro1
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 08/02/09

Loc: Smokey Point , 48.12°N 122.25...
Re: 2014 Table Mountain Star Party new [Re: Stacy]
      #6181058 - 11/07/13 01:23 PM

Quote:

Hmmmm... Didn't seem to stop the horse enthusiast group that was issued a special permit last year and occupied ALL the same traditional TMSP areas. I smell a rat.

Regardless, if that is the "official" word on the subject, I do not see a return to Table in the near future. I would suggest a name change to lessen confusion on the matter. Something like Washington State Star Party (Formerly "Table Mountain"). Seems silly to call it anything "mountain" when in fact it's in a valley!




Don't get me started, I spent a lot of time editing my response to this notice! as you can see it was pretty short by the time I got done.


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Stacy
Star Partyer
*****

Reged: 09/15/02

Loc: Seattle, WA
Re: 2014 Table Mountain Star Party new [Re: zerro1]
      #6181322 - 11/07/13 03:43 PM

Quote:

zerro1 said:

Don't get me started, I spent a lot of time editing my response to this notice! as you can see it was pretty short by the time I got done.




You crack me up Robert!


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groz
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 03/14/07

Loc: Campbell River, BC
Re: 2014 Table Mountain Star Party new [Re: Stacy]
      #6184669 - 11/09/13 01:00 PM

We stopped going to table mountain, because, well, the site isn't really that great. Very good roads to get there, contrary to what is written online, it's pavement to within walking distance of the site. But once you get there.

- Elbow to Elbow camping, with absolutely no room to even turn around without bumping into the folks beside you.

- Light dome when you look toward Ellensburg, and another one looking toward Wenatchee. The sky is really not all it's cracked up to be.

- They are very clear about generator and light rules in the written stuff online. But, it is only selectively enforced. We were stuck beside a genset running all night the last time we went.


The last time we went up there, both my wife and I had a photography plan for the trip. Once it started to get dark, we realized the plan was no good, our targets were dead center in the middle of the Ellensburg light dome. After we got the kit running, we took some time to walk around, and really 'look up' objectively. Our final conclusion was, the sky at lion rock is really not much / any better than what we had at home.

We have since moved, and, our back yard is a bortle 3 location. To head up there now, we actually get a decrease in sky quality compared to home, and would have to tolerate the elbow to elbow camping.

If we go to any star parties down south over the next few years, GSSP is probably the top on our list. A much friendlier atmosphere compared to tmsp, better sky, and a lot farther south. During solstice, we dont get astrnomical twilight this far north, so, farther south makes for more telescope time, it gets darker earlier, and light later.

But one thing I can say with certainty, the lion rock site, just isn't on our list of places we want to go for astronomy anymore. If we go back there again, it would only be for the social aspect of a star party, it wont be for the astronomy, and we likely wont lug along the big telescope gear, altho we would probably bring one of the little ones.


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Stacy
Star Partyer
*****

Reged: 09/15/02

Loc: Seattle, WA
Re: 2014 Table Mountain Star Party new [Re: groz]
      #6184905 - 11/09/13 03:21 PM

As the LP increased, I think so did the focus of TMSP. More of an educational/social/outreach event than a serious observing/photography event. I too got tired of being crammed in, but I loved the people so watch ya gonna do? Smaller parties are better imho. But I always found plenty of friendly people at TMSP. Really wonderful experience. I do miss some of the regulars I got to know.

I think the skies are not as bad as everyone makes them out to be though. I also noticed that when the air is dry, the light domes are much less obtrusive. Couple that with the central location says I will probably get up there at least once a year.

The darker sites are certainly further away. We had some good viewing earlier this year up there, but far from great. Still fun thiugh. For my money I would continue on to the Goldendale area in most cases.


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SteveG
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 09/27/06

Loc: Seattle, WA
Re: 2014 Table Mountain Star Party new [Re: Stacy]
      #6184985 - 11/09/13 04:14 PM

I look forward to this Star Party with the new location. I haven't been to TM for probably 20 years.

I'm with Stacey on the name change too; WSSP, or we could say "was up".


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zerro1
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 08/02/09

Loc: Smokey Point , 48.12°N 122.25...
Re: 2014 Table Mountain Star Party new [Re: SteveG]
      #6185543 - 11/09/13 10:13 PM

because of the mandates set down by the forest service, or DNR; The footprint of the camping space at Table Mountain when applied with a special use permit> Elbow to Elbow camping is what you get. Without that "usage agreement", as a private individual, I can go setup camp anywhere in that meadow and the FS will not say a word to me. They let ATV's and 4X4's run all over the country side up there tearing up the landscape, but a couple hundred people want to spend 4 - 5 days out of 365 up there and OH NO, you must stay inside this little foot-print "so's ya don't squash the plant life".

Ok now I'm started!

It's probably better that the "organization known as TMSP" does move on to greener pastures(no pun intended), since so many are unhappy with the original site!

(in response to the Official Release) "BUT" a few of us have been up there since the fire and know from firsthand experience-; no fire damaged trees are on or close enough to the actual SP site to be a hazard. On the North side of the road where the Caterer was set up is certainly a hazard area.

Anywhere the fire touched will have higher deadfall rates than unburned area's(I know... real shocker). Unless the FS comes in and clears the dead trees, it will always be a hazard area from now until they rot and return to the soil.

So IMHO, it's clear that if they feel that it wasn't safe enough this year, it never will be. . .


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LightBucket
newbie


Reged: 11/10/13

Loc: Woodinville, WA
Re: 2014 Table Mountain Star Party new [Re: zerro1]
      #6187276 - 11/10/13 06:21 PM

I went to TMSP at Eden Valley (get over the name already) this year and aside for a bit of bad luck with the weather at the end of the week, the site is fantastic! It is one of the best sites for dark sky observing that I have been to for any star party in this country (I have been to most of the big ones). The combination of really really dark skies, great people and lots of room at a wonderful facility with tons to do in the surrounding area during the day (horseback riding, fishing, wineries etc) made this one of the best and worth the drive. Hint: bring your passport - the resort towns of Osoyoos and Oliver Canada are a short 20 min drive North and are worth visiting. If you are all about observing or astrophotography this is the place to be - and the best use that I have had of my big dob in many many years.

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csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: 2014 Table Mountain Star Party new [Re: LightBucket]
      #6188334 - 11/11/13 10:44 AM

Welcome to Cloudy Nights! Glad to have you join us on the forums, especially this friendly little corner here!

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Stacy
Star Partyer
*****

Reged: 09/15/02

Loc: Seattle, WA
Re: 2014 Table Mountain Star Party new [Re: csa/montana]
      #6188848 - 11/11/13 03:18 PM

Yes, welcome LightBucket.

Probably just a few more than "a couple hundred" zerro1

My guess is there is some bad blood between TMSP and the USFS dating back to when "thousands" of people showed up and were probably not as well managed as they are now. I could be wrong. After a few years I got tired of being shoe-horned into the sardine can of a "campsite" where I could literately hear the person in the next site fart.

Not sure how the spacing went at Eden Valley as there is all of 3 pictures on the clunky, dated and hard to navigate TMSP web site. From the few pictures Ron posted here, it looks like they followed the same spacing convention even though it looks like there could have been a lot more room to breathe.

I will continue to go to star parties where people are given, you know, enough room to open up the awning on the camper!


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Dragonwatcher
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 01/21/08

Loc: Coupeville, WA
Re: 2014 Table Mountain Star Party new [Re: Stacy]
      #6188973 - 11/11/13 04:29 PM Attachment (10 downloads)

Welcome Lightbucket.

I enjoyed Eden Valley ranch and will probably go again next summer. In full areas, the parking sites are still marked and a bit cramped. But since it wasn't full, one could find areas with a bit more space.


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Dragonwatcher
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 01/21/08

Loc: Coupeville, WA
Re: 2014 Table Mountain Star Party new [Re: Dragonwatcher]
      #6188985 - 11/11/13 04:35 PM Attachment (13 downloads)

RV areas as expected.

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Spaced
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 03/01/05

Loc: Tacoma, Washington, USA
Re: 2014 Table Mountain Star Party new [Re: Dragonwatcher]
      #6190470 - 11/12/13 11:35 AM

Lightbucket's post got me thinking, always a difficult and unpredictable exercise. Just supposin', Anne & I stay in motel or B & B within easy driving range of Eden Valley, I leave gear set up near some Star Partyer's land yacht, Anne gets to fish during the day while I sleep. Or something like that. I really like the idea of excellent skies and I really hate cheek-by-jowl camping, and that's a lovely part of the State.

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Stacy
Star Partyer
*****

Reged: 09/15/02

Loc: Seattle, WA
Re: 2014 Table Mountain Star Party new [Re: Spaced]
      #6190717 - 11/12/13 01:38 PM

The scenery looks amazing!

Now if they would just populate every-other "campsite" I would have signed up by now.


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Dragonwatcher
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 01/21/08

Loc: Coupeville, WA
Re: 2014 Table Mountain Star Party new [Re: Stacy]
      #6191027 - 11/12/13 04:05 PM

Mike,

I don't know if they are full or not, but Eden Valley ranch has rooms and cabins to rent. I don't know minimum stays and rates, but some members (TMSP officers?) stayed in the cabins.
The cabins are just outside the camping area and the main ranch is also very close.

Edited by Dragonwatcher (11/12/13 04:07 PM)


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astronomania
sage
*****

Reged: 02/26/10

Loc: Marysville, Wa.
Re: 2014 Table Mountain Star Party new [Re: Dragonwatcher]
      #6191236 - 11/12/13 05:48 PM

Quote:

RV areas as expected.




I was about halfway down RV row with my buddy Mark.
I parked my Expedition down at the parking area so we had a vehicle to explore with during the day.
The nice thing is, behind the RV's is a nice flat area to observe from that gives you the best horizons of the whole site.
I'll be back next year!!


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cliff mygatt
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 01/27/09

Loc: Kitsap County, WA
Re: 2014 Table Mountain Star Party new [Re: astronomania]
      #6196277 - 11/15/13 10:36 AM

I am planning on attending but I am also toying with the idea of going to Table Mountain actual instead. What do you think?

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Spaced
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 03/01/05

Loc: Tacoma, Washington, USA
Re: 2014 Table Mountain Star Party new [Re: cliff mygatt]
      #6196448 - 11/15/13 12:07 PM

I think you'd enjoy the trip, Cliff, if the weather treats you well. I met Ajay, Ron, Robert & Stacy up there last summer and was glad I went. There was a profusion of late wildflowers and the skies weren't bad. I'm a sucker for alpine meadows.

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