MBCA Board members and supporters have been continuously involved in dark sky initiatives for the last decade. The Morongo Basin Dark Sky Alliance (2010-2013) was the first local coalition to propose code changes, while providing educational events and a Joshua Tree porch light replacement project funded by the County. A summary of the MBDSA projects can be found here. In 2014 then-Supervisor James Ramos appointed a County Dark Sky Committee which pursued educational programs and code revisions. Following Supervisor Ramos’ election to the California Assembly in 2018, the committee was reinitiated by his appointed successor Dawn Rowe as the Third District Dark Sky Committee. This last committee successfully shepherded their concerns into the current proposed ordinance with the support of Supervisor Rowe, recently deceased County Code Enforcement Chief Andy Wingert, and John Barentine from the International Dark-Sky Association.
If approved by the Planning Commission, the revised ordinance will be presented to the Board of Supervisors for their final approval.
The Morongo Basin is now home to an international Dark Sky Park. Joshua Tree National Park achieved their long-time goal of Dark Sky Park status bestowed by the International Dark Sky Association (IDA). This significant achievement is the result of several years of work by Park staff, providing data and receiving IDA representatives for review. The Los Angeles Times article announcing the Park's new status mentions Morongo Basin night sky activists Tom O'Key, Luke Sabala, and Caryn Davidson. MBCA supported Joshua Tree National Park’s IDA Dark Sky Park application - here is our June 2016 letter in support of the Park's application.
In April 2016, San Bernardino County District 3 Supervisor James Ramos appointed the San Bernardino County Dark Sky Committee (SBCDSC) to interact with the County about its lighting regulations and code, in consideration of the need of dark skies to maintain both lifestyle and the tourism economy in the Desert and Mountain regions of the County.
Three MBCA Board members are part of this Committee: Pat Flanagan, Seth Shteir, and Laraine Turk.
As of October 2016, the Committee has worked with Joshua Tree National Park and the International Dark Sky Association as the Park pursues a Dark Sky Park designation from IDA. The Committee will also be involved in the Park's Night Sky Festival on October 28-30, 2016.
Photo by Casey Kiernan
Some of the beauty of our hi-desert occurs after dark with our thrilling night skies. MBCA believes in conserving the beauty of these dark skies.
In April 2016 a new San Bernardino County Dark Skies Committee was initiated by Supervisor James Ramos. The group has been working with the County to improve the lighting code and its enforcement, as well as to develop some educational programs. MBCA Directors Pat Flanagan, Seth Shteir, and Laraine Turk have served on this committee.
Locally, there are several groups that interpret the night skies for residents and visitors: