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Cherry Springs State Park field condition questions

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#1 JarekP

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Posted 06 August 2020 - 05:59 PM

Hello,

 

I have a few questions regarding camping at Cherry Spring overnight astronomy field, me and a few friends (6-8 people together) are planning a visit during new Moon time in August. We visit the park every year, but we are not sure how does it look nowadays.

 

1. The park website says the water on the field is not available/not potable. Is it not available at all or just not potable? Can I fill my camper water tank anywhere nearby?
2. Is the electricity available in the pods on the overnight astronomy field?
3. The recorded message on the park phone is a bit confusing regarding reservations etc. Are now reservations required for overnight astronomy field? Are there any new restrictions for camping there?
4. Are the bathrooms open on the overnight field?
5. Is the dumping station open?
6. Is it very crowded on the overnight field during new Moon? I am asking since we would like to avoid big crowds and most of the state parks in Upstate NY are totally full (I live in Ithaca, NY).
7. Is the Internet connection working?

 

Thank you very much for your time. I tried to call the park but I was unable to get past recorded messages. Any info is much appreciated.

 

Best,

 

Jarek



#2 GIFTED1570

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Posted 06 August 2020 - 06:16 PM

i would email the calendar admin about it, here is the form      https://events.dcnr....ov/help/contact



#3 JarekP

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Posted 06 August 2020 - 06:55 PM

Thanks! I will try. I have sent an e-mail to the addres listed on Cherry Springs website, but no answer yet. I hoped someone was on the field recently and saw how it looks like. I would like to know the conditions before planning the trip.

 

Best,

 

Jarek


Edited by JarekP, 06 August 2020 - 06:56 PM.


#4 Hbgdispatcher

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Posted 06 August 2020 - 06:56 PM

I was last up during the New Moon in June - from what was going on then:

 

 The electric hookups on the field are working.

 

The Overnight Astronomy Field is still first come first serve with the honor pay envelope system as before - no reservations needed. The Park Rangers were doing checks when I was there to make sure everyone paid via the envelope system.

 

The bathrooms were open - you do have to wear masks in the park buildings which would include the bathrooms

 

Not sure about the dumping station as I don't have an RV but no one mentioned it being closed.

 

There were around 250 people on the field New Moon weekend in June - and from what I hear it was more crowded in July with the NEOWISE being in the sky.

 

The WiFi was down in June - not sure if it is back up or not by now.



#5 JarekP

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Posted 06 August 2020 - 07:01 PM

Thank you very much!



#6 George N

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Posted 06 August 2020 - 11:00 PM

I've not been there this year -- yet -- but a good friend has been there both June & July.

 

According to him -- including photos and vid he posted on FaceBook.....

 

Everything is as "normal" - except you need to wear a mask in the bathrooms ( probably a very good idea ). I'm also not sure about the dump station -- but the best bet is to call Lyman Run office and ask.

 

He posted to FaceBook from the field - not sure if he used WiFi or his cell phone.

 

The water on the field is drinkable - the water in the flush-toilet building is NOT - it is stored in tanks and drawn from a well with high-level of heavy metals in the water.

 

As always - you can't reserve the Astronomy Field - but you - or at least your group - needs "astronomy equipment" to camp there. Everyone needs to pay the fee - it's not a "group rate". You can reserve the camp sites on the North side of the road - but most are under trees and there's no red light rules there.

 

I don't know if the shower buildings are open at Lyman Run -- again, give them a call.

 

Another friend did buy a Galaxy Pass recently -- you only break even if you spend 5 nights in a year.

 

He said during June - weeknights - there were maybe 20 people on the field at night.

 

However July (almost always the biggest month other than star parties) had roughly a 100 people there - about a quarter of the number limit for the star parties. From his photos and vid -- it looked like people were spread at least 10 feet apart - almost certainly "covid safe" distance. That was on a Thur/Fri night with stormy weather coming on Saturday night. Week nights could be less. However - I have heard from an awful lot of people saying they are going there for August dark period. People who I would normally expect to see at Stellafane (canceled) are going to CSSP instead.

 

My friend has remained "covid free" after two trips there. While Potter Co has very low covid -- the biggest "danger" would be using the bathrooms.


Edited by George N, 06 August 2020 - 11:05 PM.


#7 JarekP

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Posted 07 August 2020 - 01:13 PM

Thank you very much! Very helpful. I tried to call the park office, but it is not even possible to leave a message, just recorded info.

 

Regarding the water, the problem is new. As far as I know someone forgot to close the hydrant tap and the well have run dry. Here is the message: "Due to a hydrant left open, there is no potable water available from hydrants on Overnight Astronomy Field or water available at the dump station." Not sure if there is no water at all or just the water available is not potable. Hydrant water was always potable before ...

 

I am afraid there will be a big crowd during August new Moon at Cherry Springs ...

 

Best,

 

Jarek



#8 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 07 August 2020 - 04:46 PM

Thank you very much! Very helpful. I tried to call the park office, but it is not even possible to leave a message, just recorded info.

 

Regarding the water, the problem is new. As far as I know someone forgot to close the hydrant tap and the well have run dry. Here is the message: "Due to a hydrant left open, there is no potable water available from hydrants on Overnight Astronomy Field or water available at the dump station." Not sure if there is no water at all or just the water available is not potable. Hydrant water was always potable before ...

 

I am afraid there will be a big crowd during August new Moon at Cherry Springs ...

 

Best,

 

Jarek

Well, that's very unfortunate.

You are very likely to be right about a huge crowd showing up.  Discretion is the better part of valor so I'm not planning on going to the park anytime soon.  

 

https://www.phillyvo...us-risk-safety/

https://hartfordheal...85&publicid=395


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#9 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 07 August 2020 - 04:58 PM

Regarding the water, the problem is new. As far as I know someone forgot to close the hydrant tap and the well have run dry. Here is the message: "Due to a hydrant left open, there is no potable water available from hydrants on Overnight Astronomy Field or water available at the dump station." Not sure if there is no water at all or just the water available is not potable. Hydrant water was always potable before ..

Where exactly does that information appear, Jarek?



#10 JarekP

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Posted 07 August 2020 - 05:00 PM

Well, that's very unfortunate.

You are very likely to be right about a huge crowd showing up.  Discretion is the better part of valor so I'm not planning on going to the park anytime soon.  

 

https://www.phillyvo...us-risk-safety/

https://hartfordheal...85&publicid=395

Yes, I am thinking along the same lines, but not sure yet.

 

 

Where exactly does that information appear, Jarek?

Sorry, I should have posted a link. Here it is

 

https://www.dcnr.pa....es/default.aspx

 

Best,

 

Jarek



#11 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 07 August 2020 - 05:07 PM

Thanks!



#12 AstroBruce

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Posted 09 August 2020 - 11:58 AM

I was planning on going to CS this Tuesday, the 11th. May go, if the forecast improves, later in the week.

 

Bruce



#13 Hbgdispatcher

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Posted 10 August 2020 - 04:58 PM

Yeah right now the forecast does not look great for the next week or so - I'm probably still going to head up tomorrow anyway to be set up in case we get some breaks in the clouds to watch some Perseids and then see how the rest of the week and next weekend goes - maybe the forecast will change. Right now tomorrow night looks like the best bet and it's partly cloudy at best.



#14 JarekP

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Posted 10 August 2020 - 05:36 PM

Sadly the weather outlook doesn't look good now, I hope it will improve. Please let us know if you learn anything about the field.

 

Best,

 

Jarek



#15 Richie2shoes

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Posted 12 August 2020 - 11:53 AM

I was there in July, before the water situation.  I believe there is water, but you would have to boil it.  You could try Lyman Run to fill your water tanks though.  I don't think the pods are in use anymore, I haven't seen anyone use them in a couple years.  You do not need a reservation for the overnight field, it's the same set up that it has been.  Pay $15 a night, envelopes are outside the restrooms.  The restrooms are open.  I don't know about the dumping station though.  July was packed due to Neowise - think star party crowds, there might be big crowds with the Perseids too.  The wifi was working, you'll have to ask one of the patrolling rangers for the password.

 

I plan on skipping this new moon.  I had enough aggravation last month with people not understanding that no white lights include cell phone flashes and car lights.



#16 George N

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Posted 13 August 2020 - 04:39 PM

I was there in July, before the water situation.  I believe there is water, but you would have to boil it.  You could try Lyman Run to fill your water tanks though.  I don't think the pods are in use anymore, I haven't seen anyone use them in a couple years.  You do not need a reservation for the overnight field, it's the same set up that it has been.  Pay $15 a night, envelopes are outside the restrooms.  The restrooms are open.  I don't know about the dumping station though.  July was packed due to Neowise - think star party crowds, there might be big crowds with the Perseids too.  The wifi was working, you'll have to ask one of the patrolling rangers for the password.

 

I plan on skipping this new moon.  I had enough aggravation last month with people not understanding that no white lights include cell phone flashes and car lights.

If by "pods" you mean the observatories -- ya, the motors burned out and the State will not be repairing them. They required too much work and cleaning - and half the people renting them set up a scope outside and lived in the dome! They moved one over in front of the "short term observing area" so that people looking for the Park will recognize it. So -- the thing is just a big "display". Last August I set up for a few nights on the old concrete pad left over from it --- because of all the soupy ground (not a problem this year). Unfortunately the rain pooled on it!

 

A fellow on the new FaceBook group for "serious" users of CSSP just posted a picture of the field today -- hardly anybody there now.

 

One thing I've learned over the past 10+ years -- the weather forecasts for Cherry Springs are seldom right! For example -- 2017 in July -- 2/3 of the field packed up after the forecast was for clouds and sprinkles that night. I stayed. It was perfectly clear all night. I've seen it go both ways.


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#17 Hbgdispatcher

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Posted 15 August 2020 - 07:34 PM

Was on the field from Tuesday until today and despite what the forecasts called for was able to observe for at least a couple of hours every night before the haze and clouds rolled in - which was might be the longest streak of observing nights I've had there! Last night was supposed to be partly to mostly cloudy but ended up clearing shortly after sunset and was still mostly clear when I went to bed after moonrise. All in all - a nice week at Cherry Springs.


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#18 jpbutler

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Posted 19 August 2020 - 08:01 AM

As I watch the rain from my window in New Jersey I am wondering how things will be this week at Cherry Springs.

Leaving tmrw morning for 3 nights of clear skies, I hope. Or atleast 1 or 2.

 

John


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#19 Jeff L

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Posted 19 August 2020 - 09:19 AM

I was wondering if you are allowed to drive your vehicle to unload your gear in the public observing area or do I have to walk it in. 



#20 jpbutler

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Posted 19 August 2020 - 09:27 AM

There are 2 areas, the overnight camping area which you have to be inside of by 7pm, I believe.

You can drive into that and set up your gear and leave your car there or drive it out before 7pm.

 

It has power for equipment which is nice.

If you turn on your headlights at night, people will scream at you and go berserk.

Don't plan on driving out of there at night with headlights or even parking lights.

 

Then there is some kind of public viewing area across the street that does not have power and which I know next to nothing about.

Except it looks like it was an airport runway at one time.

 

John


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#21 Lukes1040

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Posted 19 August 2020 - 12:49 PM

I plan on heading that way Friday morning. Right now the forecast doesn't look great...

 

As I watch the rain from my window in New Jersey I am wondering how things will be this week at Cherry Springs.

Leaving tmrw morning for 3 nights of clear skies, I hope. Or atleast 1 or 2.

 

John



#22 JarekP

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Posted 20 August 2020 - 09:52 AM

I am curious how did it work last night at Cherry Springs. In my place near Ithaca, NY the night was fantastic, exceptional transparency, no clouds, only a little dew, almost perfect.

 

We have decided in the end not to go to Cherry Springs but to hold a small star party around my backyard observatory, where we can stay relatively COVID safe and still observe together.

 

Weather forecast for tonight is still very good, both for my place and Cherry Springs.

 

https://jareksastro....o/weather_s.htm

https://www.cleardar...SprPkPAkey.html

 

Best,

 

Jarek

 

IMG_7840_1024.jpg


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#23 Lukes1040

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Posted 20 August 2020 - 03:25 PM

Tonight looks like a great night. Forecast has me second guessing my trip this weekend. Astropherics shows a chance of clear skies tomorrow night, but no chance on Saturday. Think its worth a 6+ hour drive for those odds?


Edited by Lukes1040, 20 August 2020 - 03:25 PM.


#24 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 20 August 2020 - 03:39 PM

I was wondering if you are allowed to drive your vehicle to unload your gear in the public observing area or do I have to walk it in. 

If you're planning on observing from the public area, which is officially referred to as the Night Sky Public Viewing Area, you'll have to carry your gear there.

 

This pdf includes a map of both sides of the park.

 

http://elibrary.dcnr...SP_ParkMap.pdf 


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#25 Jeff L

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Posted 20 August 2020 - 06:36 PM

I was planning to go in September new moon week. I tried to book a spot in the rustic campground,#30. But the site said everything was booked. I wonder if they haven’t updated their site since the Black Forest party is canceled. Could the place still be all booked up?

 

If you're planning on observing from the public area, which is officially referred to as the Night Sky Public Viewing Area, you'll have to carry your gear there.

 

This pdf includes a map of both sides of the park.

 

http://elibrary.dcnr...SP_ParkMap.pdf 




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