Greater Big Bend Dark Sky Reserve plans virtual town hall meeting                                                                                    

ALPINE — The Alpine Downtown Association in cooperation with the West Texas Friends of the Night Sky will host a virtual town hall meeting regarding the development of the Greater Big Bend Dark Sky Reserve this month.

Subject matter experts Bill Wren and Stephen Hummel with the McDonald Observatory, as well as Annie Gilliland with Big Bend National Park, will present.

Topics of discussion will include the Dark Sky Reserve and its benefits for Alpine’s economy. Continued education and awareness in the community will enable outdoor lighting requirements to be met and sky quality to improve.

“McDonald Observatory is preparing an application to the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) to establish the world’s largest International Dark Sky Reserve in the Greater Big Bend of West Texas,” Wren said. “This Alpine Downtown Association virtual Town Hall meeting will present the scope of the reserve, the IDA criteria to be met and benefits to regional communities.”

Dark skies in the area are important to the observatory because light pollution affects how their scientists can view distant objects in the cosmos. But they also have many economic and quality of life advantages to communities in the area.

The city of Alpine is currently revising its Dark Skies ordinance to include technical changes that have come about since the original ordinance was adopted in 2000 and revised in 2010.

Comments, questions and discussion will be open for all interested.

The meeting is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. (Central Time) Monday, February 22, to be broadcast live on Zoom.

For login information, see the Alpine Downtown Association Facebook page or call John T. Kennedy at 512-971-7171.