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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 -

Article Topic Follows: Deschutes County

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