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Sunriver designated first International Dark Sky Place in Oregon

The Milky Way shines in the night skies over Sunriver, Oregon. Photo by Jim Culpepper.

Sunriver Nature Center & Observatory and the Oregon Chapter of the International Dark Sky Association are excited to announce the designation of Sunriver, Oregon as the newest addition to the IDA International Dark Sky Places Program as a Dark Sky Friendly Development of Distinction. Sunriver is the first International Dark Sky Places recognized in Oregon and one of only 142 recognized worldwide to date.

Sunriver is an unincorporated town at the base of the Cascade Mountains in Deschutes County of central Oregon, U.S. The Sunriver development was launched in the late 1960’s with a vision to build a community integrated with nature, a vision which has been achieved and is continued and valued by Sunriver residents.

Bob Grossfeld, Observatory Manager of Sunriver Nature & Observatory (SNCO), spearheaded the Dark Sky Place effort. The very active SNCO’s mission is to “inspire present and future generations to cherish and understand our natural world.”

Sunriver features slow curving roadways in an evergreen forest and bicycle paths throughout, lighting restrictions on residential and community buildings and a minimum of street lights. Sunriver is 5 square miles in size and is surrounded by the Deschutes National Forest.

“We are honored that IDA has elected to welcome Sunriver into the IDA Dark Sky Places Program”, said Keith Mobley, President of the Sunriver Owners Association Board of Directors. “And 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.”