Tamarack Municipal Association
 

Tamarack Dark Skies

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Background


The sharing of incredible natural resources has been part of the dream of the Tamarack Resort Community since construction began in 2003.


Tamarack has developed and promoted its fabulous recreational opportunities provided by the mountains, the forests, the lake, and golf course.  And Tamarack acknowledges its responsibility to protect those resources for generations to come.


Tamarack has yet another amazing resource that is often overlooked - its pristine views of the beautiful night sky.  Views of the beautiful stars, planets, constellations, and the Milky Way have become a vanishing resource in the developed world.  It’s estimated that 80% of people in America might never see the Milky Way due to man-made light pollution.  And light pollution has also been shown to be harmful to the health of people, plants, animals and insects.


Tamarack is in a wonderful position to capitalize on its healthy environment and clear night sky since it has always had an ordinance requiring that all lighting within the resort be designed to protect views of the night sky.  For this reason Tamarack has submitted an application to the International Dark Sky Association (IDA) to become recognized as an International Dark Community.  Of course, there is more required for becoming an International Dark Sky Community than showing an absence of light pollution -and Tamarack is embracing all of the requirements and responsibilities.


Tamarack learned a lot during the effort to prepare its application to the IDA.  Lighting surveys and a sky quality survey were conducted, and existing design guidelines were examined.  We learned that light pollution was already well controlled by Tamarack’s requirement for fully-shielded outdoor light fixtures – which could qualify Tamarack to become a silver-tier Dark Sky Community.  And by studying that latest in “best of breed” lighting sciences – we learned that not only could Tamarack’s lighting be improved from a human and environmental health standpoint – but money could also be saved be reducing energy consumption.


Every significant public light fixture within the resort – both interior as well as exterior is now being converted to LED lighting with a healthy color temperature not to exceed 3000 Kelvin – this eliminates the harmful blue-white spectrum from all of Tamarack’s public lighting, and reduces energy consumption to save money.  And Tamarack’s design guidelines will incorporate this new information regarding lighting choices to ensure that Tamarack’s pristine views of the amazing night sky will always be protected for future generations.


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