Washoe County is a particular place, significantly when you desire to be outdoor. We urbanites are fairly conversant in our slice of Lake Tahoe, Mount Rose, the Truckee River, Peavine, Pyramid Lake and different superb locations inside a brief hike, bike trip or drive.
However that’s simply the tip of the proverbial iceberg. When you head north of Reno/Sparks for about two hours, you’ll come to Gerlach, the gateway to the Black Rock Desert. Hold going north, and also you’ll see why Gerlach is often known as the gateway to darkish sky nation.
The whole northern half of Washoe County, virtually all public land, is definitely a giant black gap; you’ll see it simply on a map of sunshine air pollution obtainable on-line. It’s one other world, the place paved roads flip to gravel after which disappear. It’s the place indicators say “no providers for 100 miles”; the one sounds are the wind and the raptors; and the sky is so layered with stars, it’s arduous to even discover the constellations.
Our black gap is considered one of only a handful left within the nation. Synthetic mild snuffed out the darkness elsewhere. Now our personal darkish skies are endangered.
Essentially the most “obtrusive” instance is the proposed Ormat geothermal plant on public land bordering Gerlach. The massive industrial facility, if constructed, would mild up the gateway to “darkish sky nation” and make a mockery of that moniker. Due to the Reno Information & Evaluation, by the way in which, for masking this extremely controversial undertaking. It IS a giant deal, which is why Mates of Nevada Wilderness has taken the extraordinary step of becoming a member of a lawsuit to cease Ormat’s exploratory drilling. In fact, we assist various power —simply not at that individual gateway.
Thanks, additionally, to the Washoe County Fee for recognizing that the individuals of Gerlach weren’t sufficiently heard and placing the undertaking on a brief maintain.
Different federally managed public lands in distant northern Washoe County don’t face speedy threats, however stay in limbo, as a result of they lack an official everlasting designation that may shield them.
So, because of Sen. Jacky Rosen for making an attempt to rectify the scenario. After session with conservationists, ranchers, hunters and others, she has launched a proposal that may shield huge swaths of the northern county with conservation overlays, and save the starry skies.
We encourage Nevadans to study extra concerning the worth of darkish skies by becoming a member of us at our annual household pleasant Darkish Sky Competition, Friday and Saturday, Aug. 18 and 19 in Cedarville, Calif., simply over the state line kind the Bloodbath Rim Darkish Sky Sanctuary in far northern Washoe County.
Sure, we love Lake Tahoe and the Truckee. However there, you’ll be arduous pressed to lose your self within the Milky Manner on a moonless evening; it’s hidden by all the factitious mild. You’ll have to go north for that have. We hope to see you there, below the celebrities.
Darcy Shepard is affiliate director of the Mates of Nevada Wilderness, which is devoted to preserving all certified Nevada public lands as wilderness, defending current and potential wilderness from ongoing threats, informing the general public concerning the values of and wish for wilderness, and restoring and bettering the administration of untamed lands. Be taught extra at www.nevadawilderness.org.