Cave Creek: It’s time to be left in the dark

By SHEA STANFIELD
ARTS COLUMNIST

Pictured: The night sky over Sedona. (Photo courtesy of Asher Sinclaire)

Even today the most jaded city dweller can be unexpectedly moved upon encountering a clear, dark, night sky studded with thousands of twinkling stars against the backdrop of the Milky Way. 

On the evening of July 22, 2019, the Desert Foothills Community gathered to hear locals, Bruce Arlen and Bob Hughes’ efforts to move Cave Creek toward being recognized as an International Dark Sky designation. 

Many, new to the area often do not realize the quest to “save our dark skies” began decades ago with the founding fathers and mothers of Cave Creek’s incorporation movement.    

The original zoning codes of the town made a provision to preserve the dark night skies forever!  Over the years the code has been amended to update for circumstances brought on by development of business, subdivisions, modernized ranching facilities, gas stations and shopping areas. 

According to local resident Martha Arnold, the preservation of the Cave Creek’s “wild side” is a very serious matter, and still is.  

Co-founders of Cave Creek Dark Skies Movement, Bruce Arlen and Bob Hughes have taken the steps to build on the town’s original dark skies commitment, and solidify its status as an International Dark Sky Community. 

Fountain Hills was the fourth city in Arizona to receive IDA recognition as a Dark Sky Community in January 2018. (Photo courtesy of Rob Mains)

The International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) defines an International Dark Sky Community as: A town, city, municipality or other legally organized community that has shown exceptional dedication to the preservation of the night sky through the implementation and enforcement of a quality outdoor lighting ordinance, dark sky education and citizen support of dark skies. 

Dark Sky Communities excel in their efforts to promote responsible lighting and dark sky stewardship and set good examples for surrounding communities.

The initial open meeting featured Dr. Jeffrey Hall from Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, an Internationally recognized Dark Skies city, and Dr. John Barentine of Dark Sky Friendly Development of Distinction, in Tucson. 

Both experts presented individual presentations on the history, importance, the technical explanations, and process of becoming a Dark Sky Community.  Community members then were given time to ask questions and gain further clarification of the process. 

This has resulted in positive movement by the town of Cave Creek.

The “resolution to establish the Town of Cave Creek as a certified International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) Community,” will be on the Cave Creek Town Council’s agenda at the next meeting on August 19. 

This Resolution is a non-binding document that establishes a commitment by the town to focus on the IDA application process.  Once the town meets and adopts the IDA lighting ordinance standard, it will be nominated for formal recognition by the IDA for certification.

The community is encouraged to attend the Town of Cave Creek Town Council Meeting, on Monday, August 19, 2019, at the Cave Creek Town Hall, (37622 N. Cave Creek Road in Cave Creek) beginning at 7 p.m.

For more information please send a note to info@cavecreekdarksky.com.   This is one time, Creekers, you want to support “Being left in the dark!”

For more information on IDA visit, www.darksky.org.

You can contact Arts Columnist Shea Stanfield on her email at: flowingquill@yahoo.com.