Many New Mexicans worry that their ability to see the stars is vanishing. Because light pollution is increasing, the New Mexico Historic Preservation Alliance has declared the night sky one of the 11 most endangered places in the state.
"The night sky has always been looked at
as simply a natural resource," says National Park Service staffer
Joe Sovick, "but the Historic Preservation Alliance is viewing it
as a cultural resource."
Chaco Culture National
Historic Park, also concerned about light pollution, installed
lights with motion sensors, shields and lower beams. By changing
its lighting habits, Chaco was selected as the site for a $35,000
A star-filled night sky is
important to preserving the New Mexico that locals and tourists
have come to know and appreciate, Sovick says. "Tourists from all
over come to these parks and for some, it is the first time in
their lives that they have seen a shooting star."