Committee shoots for the stars in plan to preserve dark skies

by Dalton Carver

Val Szwarc chair of the local Dark Skies Committee, stood in front of Ridgway Town Council last Wednesday evening, Feb. 13, to continue a mission begun nearly a year ago – establishing Ridgway as a dark-sky designated community. It may seem the stars in the evening sky are clearly visible now, but the town will have to jump through a few more hoops before becoming officially recognized for its night skies.
Council gave the nod to the committee moving forward in nominating Ridgway as a dark sky community last year, but before Szwarc could undertake that action, the International Dark-Skies Association changed criteria for designation.
As the Ridgway-Ouray Community Council committee had already begun the process to gain a designation, IDA granted an opportunity to proceed under the old criteria. Considering a “nebulous” timeline, as long as the town can show reasonable progress on code changes leading to the mitigation of light pollution, IDA will uphold its grandfather promise.
“IDA told me we would be grandfathered in as long as we show progress in a reasonable amount of time,” Szwarc said. “They’re nebulous with that amount of time, but I’d really rather not lose that grandfather status.”
IDA’s grandfather status would not force Ridgway to change all its lighting to comply with the new regulations. However, the town would need to...

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