Most importantly, in 2015, we successfully assisted the Towns of Westcliffe & Silver Cliff in becoming a designated International Dark Skies Community by the International Dark-Sky Assn. Also in 2015, we worked with the Town of Silver Cliff to replace all their light polluting street lights with LED fixtures. Additionally, we constructed the Smokey Jack Observatory for public use at The Bluff Park at the west end of Main St. with all materials being donated by local businesses. In 2013 and 2014, we shielded the lights at Norup Gas, Oak Disposal, and the Westcliffe Fire Station. And we continue to support the school art program. Each year we select the best art interpretation of the night sky from students’ work. In 2011 and 2012, we worked with the Westcliffe Supermarket to change the outside wall pack lights to cutoff fixtures, and with Sangre de Cristo Electric Coop to change out their wall packs at their shop and service area on highway 69. We also received an agreement from the Custer County Commissioners to change out and add to the overhead lights at the County Shops.
In 2009 and 2010, we worked with the Custer County Commissioners to replace the Custer County Courthouse exterior lighting with "dark sky friendly" fixtures. Also, we shielded the lights at Custer County’s Wetmore shops, replaced the lights at the Wetmore Library, put new light fixtures on the Silver Cliff school bus barn and the Wetmore fire station, replaced a light on the back of the Shell gas station on the south edge of Westcliffe with a shielded fixture to prevent it from shining into the neighborhood.
Some of our most successful past projects were the replacement of the parking lot lights and wall packs at the Custer County School facility in 2004 and the replacement of the city-owned street lights of Westcliffe in 2001. Projects such as these are financed through donations solicited from concerned citizens with an interest in preserving the dark-sky heritage of the Wet Mountain Valley. And we responded to individual requests to help in providing dark sky lighting solutions.
Donations can be sent to this foundation, WMVCF, in our name for matching funds from about Thanksgiving Day thru the end of each year, or without matching funds, direct to us at our mailing address: P.O. Box 634, ZIP: 81252. To see more about any of these efforts and others, visit our website and select "Projects" and "Donations". To keep up with our activities, click on "Subscribe-Email List" to receive the Starry Night Messenger newsletter.
The Cliff Lanes parking lot lights are fully shielded "shoe box" fixtures that were installed by the owners of the facility when it was constructed.
On the pole is an example of the shielded, flat lens street light fixtures that replaced the non-shielded ones in the Town of Westcliffe. On the storefront, are shielded fixtures to illuminate the building and sidewalk.
At the water treatment plant immediately north of Westcliffe, the non-shielded fixtures were either retrofitted with Hubble shields (pole closest to the camera) or replaced with flat lens units.
This sign was a great example of using appealing design to both illuminate the message and direct any reflected light downward to the ground. As a result, it was given an award in 2008 by Dark Skies.
In the following year the sign was replaced with a much smaller one.