Milky Way photoastronomy ©Michael Shainblum

The Dark Sky Point Reyes Initiative grew after the Point Reyes Station Village Association (PRSVA), an organization dedicated to preserving the rural nature of its town, fielded an increasing number of complaints about glaring lights keeping local folks up at night. In 2020, a lighting committee performed several nighttime walkabouts to identify lighting that did not conform to the Point Reyes Community Plan, “Outdoor lighting shall serve the safety of ingress and egress but shall not detract from the enjoyment of the natural nightscape.”

Once a lighting inventory was created, each member of the committee approached individual property owners or managers on each site where lighting pollution occurred. Small problems were quickly rectified and more extensive fixes begun. They also assisted local citizens to contact the county and have light-trespassing streetlights shielded. After 2 years, the lights have begun to calm down.  

PRSVA treasurer, Laura Arndt introduced the concept of the International Dark Sky Association’s (IDA) certification and the idea grew. Laura visited Dark Sky communities in Borrego Springs and Julian, California and together with PRSVA Vice-president Peggy Day reached out to Marin County Supervisor Dennis Rodoni to see if a Dark Sky designation was feasible for Point Reyes Station.

After a short story appeared in the Point Reyes Light, Christine Beekman, Information Officer at the Point Reyes National Seashore approached the PRSVA about a potential collaboration between the small town and the park.

The group explored the concept with IDA representatives and eventually decided to pursue an IDA Reserve certification that would include all of rural West Marin and a significant portion of the National Seashore. The village association presented the idea to leaders in 11 other villages and introduced a suggested draft light pollution ordinance to the county in May of 2021.

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