Thursday, September 29, 2005

Disappearing Night Skies in Wise County Texas

By Jim Trap

(Note: Jim asked me if I would post his excellent letter on the Lake Bridgeport Sandflat News. He also submitted it to the WCM and other news organizations.)

I moved to western Wise County in August 1997. I was taken by the rugged beauty of the landscape around Lake Bridgeport.

Something else I immediately came to love, other than our terrain, was the awesome beauty of our “night sky.” On a moonless clear night the clarity of the atmosphere above and the incredible abundance of stars is truly awe-inspiring.

I can remember on numerous occasions having guests visiting from the Metroplex and having them question me about the clouds visible in our night sky. They always thought I was pulling their leg when I explained to them that what they were viewing was not clouds at all. They were looking at the millions of stars situated in our part of the galaxy we commonly call the Milky Way.

Now to my point. Wise County is booming. Just look around you, new fresh soil is being turned over everywhere. Sadly, along with this growth comes the increasing loss of our “night sky.”

The Metroplex is galloping up U.S. 81/287 towards those of us who have chosen to live in Wise County. With this rush of business and people comes more and more light pollution that will serve to obliterate the view of our night sky – more vehicle traffic, more homes and businesses, more street lights and security lighting, etc.

We can’t stop this “progress.” What we can do is choose the type of outdoor lighting we employ at night with the best interest of our beautiful night sky in mind. For new construction and replacement needs, please consider using lighting that is directed downward and not wastefully spilled overhead.

The limestone quarries in Wise County are very good neighbors for the most part, providing many jobs and millions of tons of construction materials. However, they are a 24-hour operation and their lighting not only illuminates their work area, it absolutely floods the night sky around the cities of Chico and Bridgeport. I would hope as replacement lights become necessary our good neighbors there will choose lighting that serves their needs adequately and safely without all the over spill into the skies above them. Lighting like this is most certainly available now.

Individually, please do what you can to preserve our night sky. It’s simply common sense.

I want to encourage all of you to step out into your yard on an upcoming cool, clear autumn evening and behold the wonderful gift given us to simply enjoy.

Jim Trapp

North Star Pointe (formerly Grand Harbor)
Phone # is 1-800-710-0977 Ext 12

More Buy, Sell, Trade Links for Wise County and the Metroplex

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Response to Anonymous Comments:

Thanks for the info. Corrections have been made!!! By the way, anyone can send in a comment anonymously. We're still trying to get the bugs out of our comments so that they will show up under the article on the web page.

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