Tucker County Planner
Representatives from the Tucker County Commission, the Development Authority, and the Planning Commission met recently to discuss goals and topics of mutual interest. Preservation of our wonderfully abundant and clear Tucker County night skies is something the Planning Commission has been focused on for several years and continues to advocate for.
Tucker County has an asset that in all likelihood, we take for granted. Barring those foggy evenings, cloudy nights and bright moon lit skies, we can often look up with little difficulty and we can see a magnificent sky. Many of the planets and even many satellites are visible every night with the naked eye. Using a digital camera, with an inexpensive zoom lens or an average pair of binoculars and you’ll be absolutely amazed by what you can see. Just let your eyes get used to the dark and you’ll be pleasantly rewarded with what becomes visible as our eyes adapt to the darkness. It isn’t that way for most of metropolitan America.
These pictures, albeit not of professional quality nor extensive astrophotography technique, were taken here in Tucker County, in a valley backyard just outside of Parsons. Expensive special filters to limit residential lighting backscatter were not required, though asking my neighbors to turn off their large outdoor lights for a bit greatly helped. So what can we do to ensure that this continues to remain a natural resource for Tucker County residents and an attraction for visitors to our county?
As you either replace your outside lights and fixtures, or install new outdoor lighting, here are a few recommendations to consider:
- Always choose fully shielded fixtures that emit no light upward
- Use “warm-white” or filtered lighting (< 3,000° K) to minimize blue light emissions
- Look for products with adaptive controls like dimmers, timers, and motion sensors
- Consider dimming or turning off the lights during overnight hours if practical
- Avoid the temptation to over-light because inexpensive or efficient lighting is available
- Only light the exact space and in the amount required for particular tasks
In future articles and on the Tucker County Planner website (http://tuckercountycommission.com/county-planner/ ), I’ll be expanding on these concepts and I’ll identify resources to help inform your lighting decisions so we can all continue to enjoy this diminishing natural resource. While most of the lighting guidelines can be full of technical jargon, I’ll do my best to make it simple and uncomplicated. It will be a work in progress, so please feel free to contact me with questions, or concerns at TuckerCountyPlanner@gmail.com or (681)399-9085.