Idaho hopes to preserve starry skies with America's first dark sky reserve

The Idaho Statesman has some great updates on the local push to get a large swath of central Idaho designated as America's first dark sky reserve.

The area around Sawtooth National Recreation Area has been working to get voluntary compliance with reducing light pollution. In an area where residents often bristle at attempts to control private land use, a survey found wide-ranging support from local landowners, livestock grazing permit holders, recreation outfitters, lodges, and cabin owners.

Reporter Keith Ridler discussed the project with ranger Kirk Flannigan:

The Forest Service will contribute by putting up informational signs about the dark sky reserve and reducing light pollution from its buildings, Flannigan said. The agency would not mandate actions, and any light mitigation by others in the recreation area would be voluntary.

Stanley, a tiny mountain town within the Sawtooth recreation area, runs mostly on tourism money. Its light pollution measures are voluntary but have been effective, not only because they could mean more tourism, but because locals themselves like to see the night sky, said Steve Botti, city council president.

"I go out most every night and look at it because it's so dramatic," he said.

Idaho hopes to bring stargazers to first US dark sky reserve (The Idaho Statesman)

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