• Luke

Help save Utah's dark skies

Updated: Jan 12, 2019

UPDATE: the time to comment for both parks has passed. Thank you to all of those that helped by telling the NPS to keep these parks dark! Please continue to fight light pollution.

UPDATE: the time to comment for Bears Ears has passed but the deadline for Grand Staircase is on November 30th.



Hello all, this post is a little outside of my average content, I will have a post about Mars coming in the next few days.


I wanted to take the time to compel you to comment on the future of Bears Ears National Monument and Grand Staircase National Monument. As you may be aware President Trump has signed an executive order to reduce the size of these two National Monuments. There are many reasons to be against this move (it questions the security of everything protected by the Antiques Act, it opens YOUR public lands to be used and abused for private profits, it threatens sites important to Native peoples, threatens sites rich in fossils, archaeology and our natural history), but I urge you to comment because it also threatens the amazing dark sky above these parks.


Light pollution is a major side-effect of development and human activity, it compromises health, disrupts ecosystems and spoils aesthetic environments. Opening these lands to more flexibility in use will undermine the protection these parks were to provide for visitors from the ground below your feet to the heavens above your head.



VIIRS 2018 light pollution data red=bright blue=dark skies. No Chicago did not move to North Dakota without telling anyone that large bright patch is caused by human activity and fracking.

Comments are open right now! the comment time for Bears Ears ends November 15th 2018 and for Grand Staircase it ends November 30th 2018 so comment soon!



Grand Staircase - comment here URL: https://eplanning.blm.gov/epl-front-office/eplanning/planAndProjectSite.do?methodName=renderDefaultPlanOrProjectSite&projectId=94706


There are plenty of resources available to help you craft a comment if you search. I found a good one here


If you want a quick template of what to say you may use this one I made:



________________________Grand Staircase_____________________________


title: protect GSENM

chapter: 2

Section: 1 A


Dear Matt Betenson and all who are concerned with the future of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, I wanted to take the time to comment on the future of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. My name is {name here} and I am concerned with the future of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument under the current proposed plans.

Please go forward with alternative A (current management/no action) to continue to grant the highest possible protection to Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument (GSENM) and refrain from shrinking the monument.


I wish you to continue to grant the highest possible protection to Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument and refrain from shrinking the monument.


Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument is important to me because..... {add your reasons here ( i.e. lessening protection would: threaten the amazing dark sky above Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, questions the security of everything protected by the Antiques Act, open OUR public lands to be used and abused for private profits, threaten sites important to Native peoples, threaten sites rich in fossils, archaeological and natural history)}.


Opening Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument to more flexibility in use will undermine the protection Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument was to provide for visitors for the ground below their feet to the heavens above their head.


I wish to compel you to do everything you can in order to protect the future of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument holds thousands of years of human history, over 200 million years of natural history and holds a pristine window to see over 13 billion years of history in the sky above. Let our actions today continue to preserve this history.


Thank you,

{add full name and address *they won't accept it with out personal identifying info*}

I request my personal identifying information be withheld from public review.



VIIRS 2017 light pollution map of Grand Staircase-Escalante N.M.



My comment for Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument is here if you wish to take from it:


On Tuesday, November 13, 2018 3:17 PM, Astrotours <astrotours@protonmail.com> wrote:
Comment Title: protect dark sky above GSENM
Comment:
Dear Matt Betenson and all who are concerned with the future of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, I wanted to take the time to comment on the future of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. My name is Luke XXXXXX I am concerned with the future of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument under the current proposed plans.
please go forward with alternative A (current management/no action) to continue to grant the highest possible protection to Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument (GSENM) and refrain from shrinking the monument.
As I'm sure you've heard a number of reasons to continue to grant the highest possible protection to Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument ( i.e. lessening protection would: questions the security of everything protected by the Antiques Act, open OUR public lands to be used and abused for private profits, threaten sites important to Native peoples, threaten sites rich in fossils, archaeological and natural history). I agree with all of these reasons however I am urged to comment because lessening protection would also threaten the amazing dark sky above Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument .
Light pollution is a major side-effect of development and human activity, it compromises health, disrupts ecosystems and spoils aesthetic environments. Opening GSENM to more flexibility in use will undermine the protection these parks were to provide for visitors for the ground below their feet to the heavens above their head. Shrinking the size of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument would diminish the ability of the monument to protect the night sky above it as human activity even 50 miles away will harm the beauty of the stars above. Currently the size of the park allows a large dark central core which is perfect for educational, research, and recreational astronomy/astrophotography.
deally I would like to see a protection zone which extends 50 miles from park boundaries where anthropogenic light is limited so that all of the park will have the same brilliance in the night sky as the central core currently experiences. However I am grateful for the protection the monument currently has and will fight any attempts to diminish this protection.
Utah's dark skies are an important asset for Utah's Economy. I am a business owner, I run AstroTours.org which provides Astronomy education services to the Colorado front range and am looking into expanding to neighboring states including Utah. I take trips to visit my public lands in Utah 2 to 4 times a year in order to take in the untouched natural beauty Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument and surrounding areas have to offer both on and above their surface. I am part of a large community drawn to Utah's public lands for astronomy/astrophotography.
Not only do professional/amateur Astronomers know of the reputation of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument as a location with amazing stars but it's a big calling card for the general public. I have yet to find a tourist publication for Utah that lacks a shot of the milky way over the land (many of which I reconize as being taken in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument ), I have even seen large billboards in downtown Denver that feature an amazing milky way shot above the buttes of Utah. Loosing the unspoiled skies above Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument will have an effect on the surrounding tourist industry.
I wish to compel you to do everything you can in order to protect the future of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument . Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument holds thousands of years of human history, over 200 million years of natural history and holds a pristine window to see over 13 billion years of history in the sky above. Let our actions today continue to preserve this history.
Luke Elevated Astronomy Tours, AstroTours.org Phone:303.324.5831 Email: AstroTours@protonmail.com Address: XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
I request my personal identifying information be withheld from public review.

Bear's ears comment time has passed thank you everyone that commented:


________________________ Bear's Ears_____________________________


Dear Lance Porter and all who are concerned with the future of Bears Ears National Monument,


I wanted to take the time to comment on the future of Bears Ears National Monument. My name is {name here} I am concerned with the future of Bears Ears National Monument.


As I wish you to continue to grant the highest possible protection to Bears Ears National Monument and refrain from shrinking the monument.


Bears Ears National Monument is important to me because..... {add your reasons here ( i.e. lessening protection would: threaten the amazing dark sky above Bears Ears National Monument, questions the security of everything protected by the Antiques Act, open OUR public lands to be used and abused for private profits, threaten sites important to Native peoples, threaten sites rich in fossils, archaeological and natural history)}.


Opening Bears Ears National Monument to more flexibility in use will undermine the protection Bears Ears National Monument were to provide for visitors for the ground below their feet to the heavens above their head.


I wish to compel you to do everything you can in order to protect the future of Bears Ears National Monument. Bears Ears National Monument holds thousands of years of human history, over 200 million years of natural history and holds a pristine window to see over 13 billion years of history in the sky above. Let our actions today continue to preserve this history.


Thank you,

{add full name and address *they won't accept it with out personal identifying info*}

I request my personal identifying information be withheld from public review.


These are your public lands. Please let them know what you think. Don't be intimidated by these documents.

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