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An Affront to Astronomy, Embarrassment for Washington

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#1 BYoesle

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Posted 04 June 2018 - 12:22 PM

Being designated as a Dark Sky Place requires “active participation in ongoing efforts to garner robust community support for dark sky protection” and that “participants serve as a beacon in their community for stewardship and passionate advocacy for the night sky.” After decades of non-protection, the Goldendale Observatory State Park is in even greater need of “passionate advocacy” for the safeguarding of its increasingly vulnerable night sky vistas. Washington State Parks has shown it is not up to the task.

 

As an amateur astronomer I thought I’d made a prudent choice to live near the small town of Goldendale, in Klickitat County, Washington. Home to a famous observatory, it had some of the country’s first lighting codes to protect the night sky, and was the sixth International Dark Sky Park awarded this prestigious designation by the International Dark Sky Association (IDA). Where better in the Pacific Northwest to pursue an interest in astronomy? Unfortunately, after becoming involved with the Goldendale Observatory State Park, I learned too late about the reality of small town politics and bureaucratic mismanagement.

 

To persuade the amateur astronomers who built the massive telescope – and the community college that paid for it – to locate it in Goldendale, the city promised to build an Observatory to house the telescope, and adopt lighting regulations to protect it. These regulations were enacted by Goldendale and Klickitat County in 1979, but have remained largely unknown to the public, and are rarely enforced. The promise to protect the telescope’s night sky seemingly amounted to little more than a “bait and switch” to acquire the prized telescope in order to lure tourists to an economically challenged rural area.

 

Washington taxpayers, who purchased the Observatory in 1980, are about to spend 5.8 million dollars on the Goldendale Observatory State Park for building expansion and more parking. Although a worthy endeavor given the facility’s age, the status of the acclaimed International Dark Sky Park has been under the radar since being suspended by the IDA in late 2016. Thanks to public disclosure requests made to Washington State Parks by a local radio station, the final result of that suspension is now known.

 

The Goldendale Observatory was decertified by the IDA as a Dark Sky Park in September 2017 – the first and only such revocation to ever take place – and a true “black eye” for Goldendale, Klickitat County, and Washington State. Given decades of delinquency in lighting code enforcement, there has been little evidence of real dark sky protection efforts in the local community. More disturbing, the IDA found that current Goldendale Observatory State Park personnel showed virtually no appreciation for, or interest in maintaining, this coveted status, and failed to advocate for protection of the Observatory’s starry night sky. This would be surprising for a nature park or preserve which also highlights a beautiful night sky. For a publicly owned astronomical telescope that requires a dark night sky, as well as an observatory promoting itself as “famous for its dark skies,” it’s unbelievable.

 

Concern for protecting increasingly rare star-filled skies – and associated ecotourism – has grown worldwide in recent years. However, given the choice between advocating for protecting the Observatory’s night sky or remaining silent, Washington State Parks, in alliance with the Goldendale Chamber of Commerce, appears completely uninterested in protecting the taxpayer’s substantial investment in an observatory of “international importance” if it means even a minor inconvenience for some in the local community who only wish to see the Observatory exploited for tourism. Just keep spending millions of taxpayer dollars directly benefiting these interests – which they seem to believe they’re entitled to without obligation – and they’ll happily allow the continued despoiling of the Observatory’s night sky.

 

Those who truly care about protecting our increasingly threatened pristine views of the cosmos for future generations can be thankful the IDA appropriately defended the credibility of its highly esteemed Dark-Sky Places program by decertifying the Goldendale Observatory as an International Dark Sky Park.

 

Details here


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#2 TX4812

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Posted 04 June 2018 - 06:30 PM

Thanks for posting this thoroughly researched information.  I had heard of Goldendale losing it's IDA dark sky certification (a shame) but learned many more details reading your report. 

 

Although I am in Texas, I have visited Goldendale observatory in the past and remember meeting  Steve Stout, who allowed us to stay overnight with the telescope until he returned in the morning.

 

I hope in the future observatory and/or parks management will be chosen who can exert a leadership role in mitigating light pollution.  I have visited several locations around the country where good lighting practices were used and the results were not just reduced light pollution, but a better ability to see what was being illuminated.

 

A truly dark sky, like wilderness lands, is something to be protected and appreciated.  The public needs to be shown these wonders so they will understand and support the need to preserve them.  They are not 'amusement parks' whose sole purpose is to attract paying visitors so businesses will benefit. 

 

I am currently looking at relocating to Dripping Springs, TX in part because of their dark-sky designation.


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#3 ascii

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Posted 04 June 2018 - 07:21 PM

Sounds like it's run with the same level of incompetence as Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles.  From pictures I've seen, Griffith actually has uplighting on the observatory building.  Certainly, Los Angeles is a terrible place for an operational observatory, but still, the facility should lead by example.

 

Glad and to see that IDA has the fortitude to revoke a certification when it's warranted.

 

You couldn't pay me to visit either one.


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#4 Neytiri

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Posted 04 June 2018 - 11:04 PM

It's shocking that someone who works in such a prime location selected by the IDA to be a shining example could mess it up so bad!  Thanks, byoesle, for bringing attention to this issue.  Being in NM, I've seen Dark Sky parks act as 'beacons' to their communities. 

 

Senator Heinrich, said, "This designation will elevate the status of western New Mexico as a true destination for star gazers and dark sky enthusiasts all while boosting the economies of local communities.”   So, I think Goldendale or Washington State Parks missed the opportunity they claim to be in search of!  Sounds like they need someone else up there running the show that appreciates the amazing view, and will put effort into keeping it that way.

 

Hopefully some Washingtonians will step up and write their state reps or the governor. I doubt they have a clue what's been going on, and since the primaries are coming up, this would be a great time to bring LIGHT to this DARK SKY PARK that was...

 

Keep shining,

 

Neytiri


Edited by Neytiri, 04 June 2018 - 11:05 PM.

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#5 George N

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Posted 09 June 2018 - 09:48 AM

This is a sad state of affairs. Hopefully the public will intervene.

 

And it is true - the IDA makes regular re-reviews of their Dark-Sky designations - and they will de-certify if a place no longer qualifies. They will also lower a site a level if that is warranted. This is particularly a shame when - beyond the loss of dark sky - it is remembered the great deal of work it takes to apply for and maintain an IDA Dark-Sky designation.

 

A few years ago IDA was looking closely at the gas drilling/frack'ing in Pennsylvania and was considering lowering Cherry Springs from "Gold" to "Silver" - but now that nearly all drilling/frack'ing is suspended, and the infrastructure lighting has no impact (yet) they kept Cherry Springs a "Gold Standard Dark-Sky Park". The State kept the place open when it was on the budget chopping block, and even are now putting more money into it - after seeing as many as 1,600 people show up for their Saturday evening programs. There are lots of people who want dark sky.


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#6 earlyriser

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Posted 11 June 2018 - 03:27 PM

This is a sad state of affairs. Hopefully the public will intervene.

 

And it is true - the IDA makes regular re-reviews of their Dark-Sky designations - and they will de-certify if a place no longer qualifies. They will also lower a site a level if that is warranted. This is particularly a shame when - beyond the loss of dark sky - it is remembered the great deal of work it takes to apply for and maintain an IDA Dark-Sky designation.

 

A few years ago IDA was looking closely at the gas drilling/frack'ing in Pennsylvania and was considering lowering Cherry Springs from "Gold" to "Silver" - but now that nearly all drilling/frack'ing is suspended, and the infrastructure lighting has no impact (yet) they kept Cherry Springs a "Gold Standard Dark-Sky Park". The State kept the place open when it was on the budget chopping block, and even are now putting more money into it - after seeing as many as 1,600 people show up for their Saturday evening programs. There are lots of people who want dark sky.

And yet the IDA only has about 5,000 members in the United States. It's surprising to me that the membership rate of  amateur astronomers in the IDA is so low. Membership only costs $35/year, and we are extremely lucky to even have an organization to join.


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#7 gdd

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Posted 11 June 2018 - 03:55 PM

The management of the Goldendale Observatory has stated the observatory should not be taking an activist role in the dark skies movement which might put it odds with the policies of the state parks. Instead it should only be concerned with maintaining the 5 acre site and the programs. That seems to be a very  narrow view of their responsibilities, they should also be providing feedback to the state leadership on the needs of the observatory which includes retaining the dark skies in the entire region in which the observatory is located. Without dark skies the value of the observatory will be greatly diminished. 

 

Gale


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#8 barbarosa

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Posted 12 June 2018 - 09:15 PM

Sounds like it's run with the same level of incompetence as Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles.  From pictures I've seen, Griffith actually has uplighting on the observatory building.  Certainly, Los Angeles is a terrible place for an operational observatory, but still, the facility should lead by example.

 

Here is what the current director once said about the Griffith Observatory,  "Gee this isn't science, It's showbusiness.”

 

Given that it was built to expose the public to astronomy by allowing them to look through a telescope there is a certain logic having a handsome well lighted building in a prominent location acting as an attractor to those who see if from a distance on as a location site in many movies.

 

The science of observational astronomy has largely departed for darker and higher places and much as I enjoy it what we do is recreational observing or recreational astronomy. Now if I could only afford a second home in the mountains or desert.


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#9 earlyriser

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Posted 13 June 2018 - 04:51 AM

Here is what the current director once said about the Griffith Observatory,  "Gee this isn't science, It's showbusiness.”

 

Given that it was built to expose the public to astronomy by allowing them to look through a telescope there is a certain logic having a handsome well lighted building in a prominent location acting as an attractor to those who see if from a distance on as a location site in many movies.

 

The science of observational astronomy has largely departed for darker and higher places and much as I enjoy it what we do is recreational observing or recreational astronomy. Now if I could only afford a second home in the mountains or desert.

This could have been accomplished without the uplighting. I think the point is that if we can't showcase what good lighting practices look like at an observatory, then where can we?

 

I'm not concerned with light pollution impacting science. I am concerned with it's impact on the general public and the environment in general. Preserving the night sky just for astronomers is like preserving the Grand Canyon just for geologists.


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#10 ascii

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Posted 13 June 2018 - 09:55 AM

Here is what the current director once said about the Griffith Observatory,  "Gee this isn't science, It's showbusiness.”

 

Given that it was built to expose the public to astronomy by allowing them to look through a telescope there is a certain logic having a handsome well lighted building in a prominent location acting as an attractor to those who see if from a distance on as a location site in many movies.

 

The science of observational astronomy has largely departed for darker and higher places and much as I enjoy it what we do is recreational observing or recreational astronomy. Now if I could only afford a second home in the mountains or desert.

"Gee this isn't science, It's showbusiness.”

 

If I read Wikipedia right, the original intent of the observatory was to "make astronomy [a science] available to the public", not be "show business".   I'm not saying that the observatory and its programs can't be attractive and entertaining, but seeing it as nothing but "show business" looks like a clear violation of Griffith's intent to me.  If I were on whatever board that's in charge of the observatory, that comment would likely lead to a search for a new director.  That and making a total rehabilitation of the facilities lighting a top priority.

 

The Washington state parks personnel deserve the same kind of re-examination of their priorities.


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#11 gdd

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Posted 13 June 2018 - 01:13 PM

For show business we could put an observatory near Seattle where it would be more accessible and no further harm can be done by light pollution.

Gale

#12 BYoesle

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Posted 13 June 2018 - 11:56 PM

The Washington state parks personnel deserve the same kind of re-examination of their priorities.

Indeed. In my limited experience with Washington State Parks, it is a multi-faceted issue:

 

1. An observatory is not the typical State Park venue of campsites, picnic areas, and natural terrestrial features, and State Parks apparently has no idea of what the Observatory was originally intended for or why it was located where it is. They have not engaged knowledgeable outside expertise, consultation, or broad stakeholder input in developing medium and long-range planning for the Observatory based on best practices for an observatory. 

 

2. The idea of protecting the night sky for the Observatory is an unfamiliar "concept," and therefore not a "priority" for which they have developed a coherent conservation strategy, even after 38 years of ownership. The Observatory and its Dark Sky Park status has been largely self contained and "out of sight - out of mind," so for State Parks it is no big loss.

 

3. The organizational culture of Washington State Parks seems (at least locally) dominated by Park Rangers, who tend have a more narrow focus on law enforcement issues, instead of nature conservation.

 

4. The recession budget cuts caused significant financial stress to the organization, and they appear hyper-sensitive to any issue which may cause controversy with political constituencies that might threaten their budget, even if it may mean betraying their Mission, Vision, and Core Values statements.

 

5. State Parks apparently believes turning the Observatory into an "amusement park" popular entertainment venue will sell more State Park Discover Passes, and this appears to trump nature conservation. Local business and political interests could care less about the Observatory as long it generates tourism visits and stays at the local hotels, and the "amusement park" model is just fine by them, and they need not worry about enforcing lighting codes.


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#13 barbarosa

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Posted 15 June 2018 - 04:34 PM

This thread and the underlying case in Washington brings up all sorts of difficult ideas and seemingly unreconcilable viewpoints on parks and their purpose and disparate political and commercial views. If we could probe we might find educational, cultural and religious factors at work. The two parks discussed here are good examples of these things at work.

 

Griffith wanted several things done with his money, including apparently something to support aviation. Where is the Griffith Park airfield now? It might be unwelcome but charitable gifts and trusts can usually do what they want with scant regard for the wishes of the giver. Up where I live a fellow named Anthony Chabot decided in 1883  to return some of his wealth to his customers in he form of an observatory a downtown observatory for the benefit of school children. In 1915 light pollution of course became a problem and it moved to knoll in the hills. Where by gosh it looked just as you would expect an observatory to look. The school district owned the observatory and generations of children visited and were amazed by the views. The director for many years wasn't an astronomer or a physicist or a scientist of any kind, but he was dedicated to the observatory and to science education.The school district chronically under budgeted the observatory, and relied on volunteers to restore and maintain the equipment. As social and cultural changes swamped "traditional" public education the district wanted to close the facility. Science wasn't as important as a dance academy 

 

Eventually there was an agreement  to create a joint powers agency to build and run a new observatory and money from agency and various sources (including federal) built the current Chabot Space and Science Center, in late 20th century style. The light pollution and seeing are not any better at the new site. The old one was primarily for the students and admission was free.   The new center is very nice with much more to see than just a peek through a scope and there is limited and free public viewing, but now the general admission for a student in a group is $13. So the Griffith was built for much the same reason as Chabot, and at both the view is city lights. They both have a problem of adequate funding. They both need to attract visitors. I just can't picture booze under public school ownership, but it is a fair question as to what lessons if any this sort of public facility should teach.  The volunteers at Chabot, now and 50 years ago  tell children (and teachers) that the observatory wasn't a working observatory, that the big refractor was no longer useful for research and that urban lighting is a significant problem. But it is a very minor theme.

 

Don't get me wrong I am ready to vote for anything that will turn down the lights, I would love to see the Milky Way from my yard without the necessity of a wide area blackout. I think it sad that children grow up without seeing much of the heavens except in images and CGI effects in movies. I support those who fight this righteous fight, but for the urban areas I think it far more important to have an observatory than criticize the lighting.

 

We are far down the road of simply not caring about the night sky and I think we are unlikely to change for aesthetic reasons or for a hobby or some economic or environmental concern that simply does not resonate in the daily lives of most people. A few years back I was in Death Valley with an 8" scope. In the most heavily used part of the park you can marvel at the sky in a dark sky sanctuary and at the same time see the glow from Las Vegas and Los Angeles above the crest of the surrounding mountains. In one place what we want and what don't want. 

 

We decided to set up in an unlighted parking area north of the HQ, and when we arrived the place was a glow with the light from many white LED "lanterns."  The friendly naturalist giving an interpretive talk explained that because the site was dark many visitors complained that they were not comfortable walking with no pathway lights or with dim lights marking the edges or  even with flashlights. There is something moronic about needing more light and ruining your night vision to attend a lecture under the stars and about the sky.  I despair of persuading those folks that less light is good. I simply don't know how we can make gains when so many people, virtually all those born after say 1970 may never have seen a natural sky.

 

I've sat in meetings and hearings listening to chamber reps, developers and town officials rhapsodize over the need for more revenue and the benefits to the public if we just loosened the rules on slope density, allowed an exception to cut down those pesky Oaks or to install lighted signs or even a search light. If we allowed such things a hotel might come in (true insanity - there is nothing here and we aren't on the road to anywhere. If we do those things the shoe store will come back and we will still be "semi-rural". Public opinion just can't be mobilized on  things like lighting even here in officially "green" California. The town has a toothless lighting ordinance and the major interest groups in town work hard to keep it that way. Without support from the Chamber and the three major property owners no lighting ordinance will ever pass. As it stands the town finds it easy to ignore restrictions in the state code rather than hold hearings and legislate exceptions. I was so curious about this I called a staffer at the capitol and found out that the only thing the state did was collect reports submitted by cities when they approved exceptions. To get the state "green" code past the development and building lobbies there was a provision allowing for modification by state regulators when it was in the public interest to do so. In this case the public interest was OK with reports but not enforcement.

 

There is a good chance that California will shortly cut locals out of the process altogether  if a development is for the benefit of the poor/homeless/disadvantage/downtrodden/addicted/mentally ill/unlawful immigrant/(add your favorite cause that you think other people should support). Kindness is the stated reason but the money is coming from those who expect to profit. This is a powerful machine with no interest in niceties or sky conditions.

 

We are pushing a long rope.


Edited by barbarosa, 15 June 2018 - 09:03 PM.

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#14 vsteblina

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Posted 17 June 2018 - 06:42 PM

For show business we could put an observatory near Seattle where it would be more accessible and no further harm can be done by light pollution.

Gale

Probably would work.

 

It did work for the "wineries" in Woodinville. Don't forget in addition to the "Wineries in Woodinville there is the Matterhorn in Anaheim".

 

Really it is all show business.

 

Somebody could just as easily set up a site in Seattle with a remote link to Australia and "do" astronomy during the day at Pike Place market. In the long run, probably get more kids and adults interested in Astronomy than Goldendale Observatory.

 

I have had some contact with local tourist based organizations in Goldendale. Those are the folks that need to push the tourist agenda.

 

Good luck with Washington State Parks. I had my share of professional disagreements with them!! The Goldendale Observatory is mismanaged on so many levels including light pollution. I almost put in for the job after retirement, but realized that I would be working FOR state parks instead of merely argueing about their mismanagement of public resources.

 

Good luck and hopefully you will succeed.


Edited by vsteblina, 17 June 2018 - 06:44 PM.

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#15 ForgottenMObject

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Posted 28 June 2018 - 09:02 PM

Depressing. An observatory where people don't seem to care about the night sky... *sigh* Glad the IDA humiliated them for their absurdity.

 

As others have said, it's like pushing a rope uphill. There is a deep madness to it - that somehow by destroying everything and better illuminating the wreckage, we'll all "hit it big," the coveted "whatever" will move in, and the good times will roll. Meanwhile, retail all over the nation is closing up shop and going under, housing prices are sky high, and no amount of additional light poured on all this absurdity will improve things. Maybe if we just cut down one more old tree or point one more light fixture at another light fixture, everything will work out... ugh... Oh, and don't get me started on searchlights. A few of those stupid things twirl around the night skies in central Maryland now and then, for heaven only knows what reason. Who actually sees a searchlight and thinks, "Oh, wow - I need to stop what I'm doing and drive around random roads to see what's the cause of that light in the sky?" Seriously? What is this - the World's Fair from about 100 years ago? Argh!

 

I just don't get it.


Edited by ForgottenMObject, 28 June 2018 - 09:05 PM.

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#16 BYoesle

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Posted 07 July 2018 - 05:23 PM

The IDA did not humiliate the Observatory or Washington State Parks. You will not find anything, anywhere, from the IDA about the Goldendale Observatory Dark Sky Park, its revocation, or de-certification.

 

The Goldendale Observatory and the local community have humiliated themselves. Sometimes you have to "kick the hornets' nest" to get people's attention. As you might imagine, there are some who are not too pleased this issue has come to light...

 

Many people, especially ignorant people, want to punish you for speaking the truth, for being correct, for being you.

Never apologize for being correct, or for being years ahead of your time.

If you’re right and know it, speak your mind.

Even if you are a minority of one, the truth is still the truth.

 

Mohandas Gandhi


Edited by BYoesle, 07 July 2018 - 11:04 PM.

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#17 Maxtrixbass

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Posted 24 July 2018 - 01:52 PM

I really don't get why such a liberal/progressive/green state so concerned about the environment (and rightly so) is so backward when it comes to lighting..and yes, I live here.. People who will recycle their recycled recycles will blast their neighbors with halogen floods. Seattle went "green" and replaced streetlights with fixtures that I swear can be seen on Mars..

 

Attacking this from another angle, like health or the like, is in order. Maybe calling it an environmental contaminant might work. It has to go out of politics and into culture. Somehow it needs to become shameful to contribute pollution to the landscape. Geese, if the fight is hopeless here we are doomed.


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#18 vsteblina

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Posted 25 July 2018 - 12:02 AM

I really don't get why such a liberal/progressive/green state so concerned about the environment (and rightly so) is so backward when it comes to lighting..and yes, I live here.. People who will recycle their recycled recycles will blast their neighbors with halogen floods. Seattle went "green" and replaced streetlights with fixtures that I swear can be seen on Mars..

 

 

I can see Seattle's sky glow from Wenatchee.

 

Seattle decided that since LED's were so cheap, they were going to increase the street lighting by a factor of four. I think the whole health issue of light at night and blue wavelengths will probably get those lights swapped out within ten years.


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#19 BYoesle

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Posted 27 July 2018 - 12:06 PM

 

I really don't get why such a liberal/progressive/green state so concerned about the environment (and rightly so) is so backward when it comes to lighting..and yes, I live here.

Hi Bill. Washington is not quite the progressive/green state as you believe. Living in/near the Puget Sound area might give you that impression. However, the State legislature is fairly evenly divided, making the State "purple" overall.

 

Moreover, most of the State's rural counties are politically conservative. This includes Klickitat County, where our local State Representative and 5th generation Goldendale native is one of the more anti-environmental regulation representatives you could hope to find, which is why she and her family are a big part of the reason local lighting ordinances have not been enforced for almost 40 years (see my long article here). For another example, Klickitat County is the only county out of six along the beautiful Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area which has deliberately refused to adopt development regulations to protect and enhance the scenic values of this national treasure.

 

So while your views may be with the majority of the State's population, and you help to disproportionately subsidize public funding of State Parks in Klickitat County, your views about, and tax support for, the Goldendale Observatory really don't count for anything here locally (or apparently with State Parks).

 

Washington Red v Blue.jpg

 

As I note above, Washington State Parks is a financially stressed organization. The economic recession resulted in deep cuts to the State Parks budget, shifting the agency from a budget relying on 70 percent of operating revenues from taxes, to an operation relying 80 percent on revenue from user fees (Discover Pass sales, etc.) and donations. Staffing and program reductions resulted in layoffs of one-third of permanent full-time staff throughout the State Park system.

 

The 2007 recession also affected the public's perception of the importance of environmental protection verses economic development. State Parks officials apparently responded by emphasizing economic incentives over environmental issues and conservation, and this has resulted in turning the Goldendale Observatory into an "amusement park" (the Goldendale Chamber of Commerce preference) and popular entertainment venue (which as noted by others could be located anywhere), verses a nature appreciation - night sky conservation venue. Goldendale Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Dana Peck - a close confidant of Washington State Parks Area Manager and Park Ranger Lem Pratt - stated “my job is to try and fill up hotel rooms and restaurant spaces using the observatory as a marketing tool,” and that "economic and commercial gain is our priority." Peck then tellingly added “it's State Parks priority." Troy J. Carpenter, Washington State Parks Interpretive Specialist for the Goldendale Observatory, immediately chimed in that "it is our priority – overwhelmingly so. Absolutely." State Parks Partnership and Planning Manager Steve Brand may have doomed the fate of the Dark Sky Park when he stated “State Parks supports the dark sky concept, but it isn’t our mission.” He also required the Friends of Goldendale Observatory to remove dark sky education activities from their annual Operating Plan, stating “it isn’t part of operating the park.” Carpenter had earlier called this educational effort a "waste of money" and "hippy dippy activism."

 

Ironically, public opinion has now shifted back to the importance of environmental protection verses economic development. Washington State Parks has not yet recovered from its budgetary crisis - and unfortunately the International Dark Sky Park is no more - due to political inertia, and in my opinion misplaced priorities favoring economic/revenue development over nature conservation.

 

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Edited by BYoesle, 28 July 2018 - 11:33 AM.

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#20 Pauls72

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Posted 01 August 2018 - 05:39 PM

We have a similar problem here in Indiana with the Indiana Dunes State park.

There is a group that is trying to take a old historic pavilion building and make it into a fine dining restaurant, bar, banquet center and ice cream shop with seating on the roof, new parking lots with lights, etc...

The community near by the dunes is Beverly Shores a Dark Sky community is against this.

The county refused them an alcohol license twice, they got the state to change the law so they don't need county approval for a alcohol license. It's now controlled by the DNR who gave them approval.

They have additional done changes with out permits so they where ordered to stop.

They have changed their construction plans enough without getting approval that they have been ordered to submit a new review of their building plans.

There has been a special prosecutor appointed to investigate claims of wrongdoing in Indiana Dunes pavilion project.

The Indiana Dunes National Lake Shore adjoins the state park and is trying to get dark sky status. They are against this.

The National Park Service says a review by them is necessary because the state park has utilized Land and Water Conservation Funds in the past and the property may not be converted to uses that do not support public outdoor recreation.



#21 George N

George N

    Aurora

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Posted 02 August 2018 - 10:22 AM

......

The county refused them an alcohol license twice, they got the state to change the law so they don't need county approval for a alcohol license. .....

Really?

 

In New York there was a big battle over the State trying to remove local government zoning and enviro regulation to restrict activity that the State allows (not light pollution - but all would recognize the issue). The local governments won in the State Supreme Court!




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