"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 observatory project.
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."