SUNRIVER — The Sunriver Nature Center & Observatory and the Oregon Chapter of the International Dark Sky Association recently announced the designation of Sunriver as the newest addition to the International Dark-Sky Association Dark Sky Places Program as a “Dark Sky Development of Distinction.”
Sunriver is the first “Dark Sky Place” recognized in Oregon and one of only 130-plus recognized worldwide to date.
Sunriver is an unincorporated town at the base of the Cascade Mountains in Deschutes County. The Sunriver development was launched in the late 1960s with a vision to build a community integrated with nature.
Bob Grossfeld, observatory manager of Sunriver Nature & Observatory (SNCO), spearheaded the Dark Sky Place effort. The very active SNCO’s mission is to “inspire present and future generations to cherish and understand our natural world.”
Sunriver features slow curving roadways in an evergreen forest and bicycle paths throughout, lighting restrictions on residential and community buildings and a minimum of street lights. Sunriver is 5 square miles in size and is surrounded by the Deschutes National Forest.
Established in 1988, IDA has led a movement to protect our night skies from light pollution. Their overarching goal is to reduce light pollution and promote responsible outdoor lighting that is beautiful, healthy and functional.
“We are honored that IDA has elected to welcome Sunriver into the IDA Dark Sky Places Program”, said Keith Mobley, president of the Sunriver Owners Association Board of Directors, in a press release. “And we are pleased that our ongoing efforts of the past 60 years to be one with nature are recognized now for our protection of pristine skies from light pollution.”