Monday, Feb. 22, 2021 | 3:35 p.m.
CARSON CITY — Nevada’s state Senate took a step towards guaranteeing stargazers will proceed to get pleasure from picture-perfect constellations on Monday, passing a bill to acknowledge “dark sky places” with unobstructed views of galaxies tons of of hundreds of sunshine years away.
The Legislature’s higher chamber unanimously handed the proposal to create a state program aligned with the International Dark Sky Association to defend the state’s stargazing havens from mild air pollution.
“This increase in attention to Nevada and our dark skies really provides us an opportunity, especially during this pandemic to capitalize on an asset that we have,” Lt. Gov. Kate Marshall stated throughout a committee listening to final week.
Marshall, who’s sponsoring the bill, stated Nevada is understood amongst stargazers for having a number of the darkest skies within the nation.
Her office has labored with the agricultural Nevada communities of Tonopah and Beatty on tourism initiatives to entice vacationers to marvel on the celestial views away from the fluorescent glow of road lights, casinos and tall buildings that stay lit-up at night time.
The International Dark Sky Association acknowledges 14 darkish sky sanctuaries on the earth and two are in Nevada: Great Basin National Park in jap Nevada and the Massacre Rim Wilderness Area in western Nevada, close to the state line with Oregon.
The bill doesn’t embody provisions to defend darkish sky locations from growth that might carry encroaching mild air pollution. Marshall stated the aim of the designations was to promote tourism and financial exercise for rural communities close to darkish sky locations and their small companies.
State Sen. Julia Ratti, D-Sparks, stated defending Nevada’s darkish skies would complement initiatives underway, together with the development of an observatory in Great Basin National Park in jap Nevada. Ratti, who serves as director on the Great Basin National Park Foundation’s board, stated it will be the primary facility of its type inbuilt a nationwide park.
The bill acquired help from wilderness advocates, business teams and native officers from all through rural Nevada, together with Lincoln County.
Federal companies management 98% of the county’s land, most of which is overseen by the Bureau of Land Management and the Department of Defense, which owns the Nevada Test and Training Range.
Marcia Hurd, the president of the Lincoln County Tourism Authority, stated a scarcity of land for unrestricted industrial exercise led to financial struggles within the county and a reliance on tourism. She hopes darkish sky designations will carry further vacationers to jap Nevada.
“Living in an area where you can clearly see the Milky Way just by stepping out your backdoor is something that everyone should have the opportunity to experience,” Hurd wrote in a letter to the Senate Committee on Natural Resources.
The bill now strikes to the Assembly and should be signed by Gov. Steve Sisolak, a Democrat, earlier than turning into legislation.
Sam Metz is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative . Report for America is a nonprofit nationwide service program that locations journalists in native newsrooms to report on undercovered points.