Moab Is Seeking Dark Sky Certification

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One of the big reasons to get away from the city is to see the magic of the night sky in all of its glory. Away from the bright lights, you can see things like the Milky Way, the zodiacal glow, and even a cool spot in the sky called the gegenschein if you get to a dark enough place. If you can find a nice national park or other tourist destination to check out during the day, you’ve got double the reasons to go.

Along with the aesthetic and emotional benefits of seeing the dark sky, there’s a lot of good reasons to dim the lights at night for the health of humans and other animals. Everything from our circadian rhythms, hormone levels, and mood are affected by artificial light at night, and getting those things wrong can cause cancer, depression, and lethargy among many other things. Animals face the added problems of losing their way on migrations and not being safe from predators (or, conversely, not being able to get a meal).

So, it’s essential that we get the light we need for safety at night while not using too much or wastefully shining it off into the sky and cause problems. It’s all about finding balance.

One town in Utah stands to really help with all of these things: Moab. The town’s already known for off-roading and all sorts of other outdoor recreation. Not only are there some amazing trails for everything from Cybertrucks to e-bikes, but there are also several national and state parks and monuments. Arches is a popular one, and it’s just outside of town. Canyonlands is also well-known. Other amazing areas include Glen Canyon, Natural Bridges, Hovenweep, and both the Utah Raptor and Dead Horse Point state parks.

Several of these parks are already certified Dark Sky parks, but keeping light from messing the whole area up requires a lot of work and coordination. And, the biggest source of artificial light in the area is the small city of Moab. So, they have to be an important part of any solution. Fortunately, they’re seeking certification, too!

It took a lot of work over the course of years, but the town is planning on submitting its application for certification in March. But, to get this done right, they town needs residents and visitors to check the lights out and give city officials their opinion on it. The lights are all set up to emit less blue light, with color options including 2400K and 3000K lights. Opinions on the color of the lights should be submitted to sustainability@moab.org.

Just getting to this point took five years of work. City ordinances had to change, but residents will have several years (until 2029) to fully comply. Between the delay and some financial aid available for new lights, nobody should face much of a hardship from this. Between now and 2029, the city is able to get residents to fix up “nuisance lighting,” like uncontrolled flood lights that go into a neighbor’s window. This problem, called “light pollution,” has been a growing problem in the community.

One thing’s for sure, though: getting a little more darkness at night will make for some prettier skies over the next few years!

Featured image by Jennifer Sensiba.


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Jennifer Sensiba

Jennifer Sensiba is a long time efficient vehicle enthusiast, writer, and photographer. She grew up around a transmission shop, and has been experimenting with vehicle efficiency since she was 16 and drove a Pontiac Fiero. She likes to get off the beaten path in her "Bolt EAV" and any other EVs she can get behind the wheel or handlebars of with her wife and kids. You can find her on Twitter here, Facebook here, and YouTube here.

Jennifer Sensiba has 1955 posts and counting. See all posts by Jennifer Sensiba