Want a place to see the night sky, unsullied by the light pollution of the city? Sunriver may be it.
The town was just named the first "dark sky place" in all of Oregon, as the newest addition to the International Dark-Sky Association's Dark Sky Places Program. The town earned the title of "Dark Sky Development of Distinction." Just 130 places worldwide have been named a Dark Sky Place, according to the association.
- Marcus Schwing
- Comet NEOWISE at the Oregon Observatory.
"We are pleased that our ongoing efforts of the past 60 years to be one with nature are recognized now for our protection of pristine skies from light pollution," stated Keith Mobley, president of the Sunriver Owners Association Board of Directors.
The International Dark-Sky Association's mission to is educate people about the benefits of the night and the urgent environmental threat that light pollution can cause, as well as helping communities reduce light pollution.
Sunriver is an ideal place to gain such a distinction, since the Oregon Observatory, located at the Sunriver Nature Center & Observatory, has the largest collection of telescopes for public viewing in the U.S., according to its website.
"Sunriver's elevation, pitch-dark surroundings, and crystal clear air make it perfect for stargazing," the Observatory's web page describes.
The Sunriver Nature Center & Observatory is reopen once again following pandemic-related closures, though both nature center and observatory visits now require reservations, and masks are required. Private group experiences are also available.
A Just last week, the Nature Center announced the arrival of a new "ambassador" animal: a Eurasian eagle-owl, that joins the center's collection of ambassador birds including golden eagle, Swainson's hawk and a great horned owl. The eagle-owl made a long journey from New York, in the pandemic era (which includes restrictions on animals), by car—a four-day trip for the raptor and a member of the team's animal care staff. It's the center's first new raptor since 2016.
Sunriver Nature Center & Observatory
57245 River Rd., Sunriver
International Dark Sky Association