Among the many bills passing through the state legislature this session is one that recognizes the importance of dark skies. Senate Bill 52, if passed, establishes a program for awarding a dark-skies designation to worthy places in Nevada. See the bill.

SB52, sponsored by Lt. Governor Kate Marshall, is meant to educate, and inform the public about the benefits and value starry skies can provide. The Board of Scenic Nevada supports passage and we hope you will, too. Registering your opinion is easy and takes little time. Click here. Be sure to select SB52.

Degradation around the globe of our night skies from light pollution has been on the increase since 1876 when Thomas Edison’s light bulb first lit up a New York city street. Scientists say light pollution has a detrimental effect on humans and wildlife cycles and patterns.

Milky Way over Great Basin National Park. Photo by Derek Demeter.

The damage continues annually. Light pollution has intensified within the past 50 years and continues to increase at about six percent a year in North America and Europe.

Scientists believe that more than 83 percent of humanity can’t see a starry night sky because of light pollution and that includes more than 99% of Americans and Europeans. Read more.

Given this dismal reckoning worldwide, we are so fortunate in Nevada to still have extraordinary dark sky regions, where residents and visitors can come to see the Milky Way at night, like the Massacre Rim Wilderness Area and Great Basin National Park. By setting up this program to designate deserving places, SB52 will surely benefit tourism, as well as our fragile environmental and ecological systems that depend on dark night skies.

The bill was approved unanimously by the state senate February 22 and will be heard next by the state Assembly Natural Resources Committee.  Please take a minute now to email your support of SB52.