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Legislation targets the night sky

Published: Feb. 17, 2021 at 5:12 PM PST
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - Nothing compares to the night lights of Las Vegas.

It’s ironic a new piece of legislation is designated to bring tourists to an exact opposite attraction also available here in Nevada--the night sky.

“You can go from Vegas to see all the bright lights, to Caliente to see the Milky Way with the naked eye,” says Kate Marshall, Nevada Lieutenant Governor. “It is just a short drive away,” she says.

Marshall oversees tourism in the Silver State. That’s one of her jobs as lieutenant governor. She wholeheartedly backs Senate Bill 52.

It could be called the “Dark Sky” bill of the 2021 legislative session. But in this case, dark is good.

Marshall says there’s a big demand by tourists, campers, and astronomy lovers to get out to some of the darkest places possible to take in all the universe has to offer.

Nevada’s small towns and cities, ranches, and reserves are the ideal places to offer the dark sky experience.

“Going to the outdoors as an economic engine, is resilient to recession, resilient to the pandemic,” says Marshall. “So it is an opportunity to provide some support to the boom bust economy that we have,” she says.

The bill, if passed, would set up a system where ranches, small towns, reserves or sanctuaries could apply for a dark sky designation. What qualifies as such a designation would also be established.

The state will work with the International Dark Sky Association which has already designated the Great Basin National Park and Massacre Rim Wilderness Study areas here in Nevada as international dark sky places.

Marshall says the bill has bi-partisan and urban and rural support.

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