Keep light pollution out of Fish Springs
February 25, 2005
by Linda Monohan
A friend of ours from Los Angeles was visiting one dark night and asked, “Is that smog I see in the sky way out here in Fish Springs?”
No way, it wasn’t smog. He had never seen the Milky Way before! The light from billions of distant stars appears to be one long cloud across the pitch black sky. And, at 5,200-foot elevation, our high desert valley makes the thin air easy to see through.
If you’re a stargazer, this is a particularly awesome place to live.
Some of the newer residents of Fish Springs, and a few of the older residents, have put up glaring outdoor lights that illuminate the whole neighborhood. Are they afraid of the dark?
Most of us out here are afraid of losing the dark!
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I write about this problem of creeping light pollution at least once a year and I was asked to do it again as there are still problems with the intruding night lights out here.
I read about Ruhenstroth’s same concerns in Gail Davis’ column. It’s a wide-spread problem and if we don’t stop it soon, someday we may lose sight of the magnificent Milky Way.
Right now we can watch satellites and even the space station cross our dark nighttime sky. But preserving that darkness isn’t easy.
There are some simple things that we as individuals can do, such as closing our blinds at night to keep it dark outside. We can also replace porch lights with motion sensor security lights that only come on when they are needed.
And a big one, we can follow our county’s lighting code. You didn’t know Douglas County had such a Code? You can get a copy of it from the office of Community Development in the Minden Inn.
Under the heading of “lighting” it reads, “exterior lighting shall be shielded or recessed so that direct glare and reflections are contained within the boundaries of the parcel, and shall be directed downward and away from adjoining properties and public rights-of-way.
No lighting shall blink, flash, or be of unusually high intensity or brightness.”
It seems appropriate to discuss the problem with your neighbor if there are overly bright lights coming in your windows.
Perhaps the situation can easily be corrected simply by directing the lights down. Whatever it takes, we need to keep the Milky Way visible here in Douglas County.
— Linda Monohan can be reached at 782-5802.