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Deschutes County

Sunriver is named Oregon’s first official ‘Dark Sky Place’

Milky Way over Sunriver Jim Culpepper
Jim Culpepper
The Milky Way shines in night skies over Sunriver

SUNRIVER, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Sunriver Nature Center & Observatory and the Oregon Chapter of the International Dark Sky Association announced Monday the designation of Sunriver as the newest addition to the International Dark-Sky Association Dark Sky Places Program – as a “Dark Sky Development of Distinction.”

Sunriver is the first “Dark Sky Place” recognized in Oregon and one of only 130+ recognized worldwide to date.

Sunriver is an unincorporated town at the base of the Cascade Mountains in Deschutes County of Central Oregon. The Sunriver development was launched in the late 1960s with a vision to build a community integrated with nature, a vision which has been achieved and is continued and valued by Sunriver residents.

Bob Grossfeld, observatory manager of Sunriver Nature & Observatory (SNCO), spearheaded the Dark Sky Place effort. The very active SNCO’s mission is to “inspire present and future generations to cherish and understand our natural world.”

Sunriver features slow curving roadways in an evergreen forest and bicycle paths throughout, lighting restrictions on residential and community buildings and a minimum of street lights. Sunriver is 5 square miles in size and is surrounded by the Deschutes National Forest.

Established in 1988, IDA has led a movement to protect our night skies from light pollution. Their overarching goal, which revolves around the four strategic priorities described below, is to reduce light pollution and promote responsible outdoor lighting that is beautiful, healthy, and functional.

  1. Celebrate the Night: Increase awareness of the benefits of the night for all living things, and how light pollution is an urgent environmental threat that individuals can help solve.
  2. Dark Sky Protection: Protect exemplary dark skies through our certification program.
  3. Lighting Where We Live: Engage cities and communities in reducing light pollution through responsible lighting policy and practice.
  4. Skyshed Restoration: Implement coordinated, intentional, and scalable actions to slow, halt, and reverse the increasing rate of light pollution.

“We are honored that IDA has elected to welcome Sunriver into the IDA Dark Sky Places Program”, said Keith Mobley, President of the Sunriver Owners Association Board of Directors. “And we are pleased that our ongoing efforts of the past 60 years to be one with nature are recognized now for our protection of pristine skies from light pollution.”

Contact:  Bob Grossfeld –
Web: IDA - Sunriver designated first International Dark Sky Place in Oregon
Learn more about: 
    Sunriver Nature Center & Observatory –
    The Oregon Chapter of IDA -
    IDA’s global work to protect the night from light pollution -

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  1. If anyone reading the comments is/plans to be a student at COCC, Bob Grossfeld teaches an astronomy class there that is an awesome option for people looking to fill in some of their science credit requirements. I took it with him a few years ago, and it was really, really fun.

    1. Agreed! This course is an excellent option for nonscience majors! I would also like to mention that I also had the great pleasure of taking classes & Observing with O Richard Norton who taught the same course at COCC years before.

      It’s hard to look up at the sky in C.O. and not thinking of both of these gentlemen!

        1. He was so well known around the world! I remember bringing him a meteorite I found on the Rez and he was so happy that I brought it to him to examine. He was such a nice guy!

          And so kind to people of all cultures, races & creeds.

      1. Not so clear. It says “By KTVZ news sources”, whatever that means. Should be more upfront that it’s a verbatim press release (or pretty close to it).

        1. How much more upfront do you expect? This might be a troll board but us trolls love the sky! You are a moron!
          The below is directly from the article.

          Contact: Bob Grossfeld –
          Web: IDA – Sunriver designated first International Dark Sky Place in Oregon
          Learn more about:
          Sunriver Nature Center & Observatory –
          The Oregon Chapter of IDA –
          IDA’s global work to protect the night from light pollution –

      1. I didn’t say sunriver was totally irrelevant, nor unimportant. I CLEARLY said there are “waaaaay better places” than Sunriver….but then again…their not near the last liberal bastion this side of the cascades, either. Speaking of beautiful places….are you ever gonna be bummed when you find out Wallowa County is headed to Idaho. Hell I would bet you have no idea that they’re going to be on the ballot to leave. Why are they leaving….because of these “Dark Sky Place” type of hippy people wrecking the state. Kate doesn’t speak, nor represent us all lie she claims….which is a lie because she KNOWS it, yet claims it anyway

        That said….show me one single liberal themed anything that is relevant, or important to anyone but your own kind?

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