In the last three years a group of amateur astronomers in the Pacific Northwest have had remarkable success establishing a 30-acre dark sky site in eastern Washington state known as the Goldendale Sky Village (www.goldendaleskyvillage.com). Organized as an LLC, each of its current 46 members have made capital contributions ranging from $5K - $50K and in return they and their families have received the right to use a plot of land within the village, the size of which varies according to the amount contributed. This arrangement has resulted in a close-knit astronomy community where like-minded people can observe together, socialize with each other, and learn their hobby as if they were attending a permanent star party. Sky & Telescope magazine published a short article about us in its October 2020 issue.
While eastern Washington has plenty of clear skies in summer, the winter is a different story altogether and, in effect, the observing season is only six months long. I am therefore exploring the possibility of establishing a similarly organized ‘Chiricahua Sky Village’ in southern Arizona, to be privately owned and used by astronomy enthusiasts throughout North America who wish to observe during the winter but are thwarted from doing so on account of bad weather in their home states. There are very dark skies less than two hours’ drive southeast of Tucson, just west of the Chiricahua Mountains where the land is cheap, neighbors are few and far between, and horizons are low.
The first step is to gauge the level of interest amongst amateur astronomers everywhere in being a part of such an observing community. If such a concept strikes a chord within you, please contact me.
Founder and General Manager
Goldendale Sky Village LLC