Why Boulder City is trying to go dark—and how you can help

Photo via Unsplash

By Aleza Freeman

August 4, 2023

Boulder City is on a mission to turn down the lights. 

The Southern Nevada city is replacing its municipal lights with dimmable, energy-efficient fixtures that will cut down on light pollution, greenhouse gasses, and the city’s energy costs. 

Once installed and approved, Boulder City may become the third Nevada location to receive an official dark skies designation from the authority on light pollution, the International Dark Sky Association. Massacre Rim Sanctuary in the northwest and Great Basin National Park in the northeast are the other locations.

As the Nevada gateway to the Hoover Dam and Lake Mead, Boulder City also wants to attract more visitors and families for sustainable dark sky tourism. A Great Basin National Park representative predicts that dark sky opportunities, such as stargazing festivals, attract 15-20% of the park’s visitors.

Boulder City was granted $1.9 million in 2022 by the U.S. Economic Development Administration to take on the retrofit. The city is working in association with the National Park Service and the Nevada Division of Outdoor Recreation.

A 2021 study shows that global light pollution has increased by at least 49% over the past 25 years. This human-made phenomenon obscures views of the night sky. It is also said to have an impact on wildlife and ecosystems, human health, and climate change.

Boulder City residents voiced their concerns about the city’s lights in a dark sky survey last year. They are encouraged, but not required, to upgrade the lighting at their homes.

The IDA cites up to 50% of outdoor residential lighting as contributing to the world’s light pollution. Small changes in your own backyard, like switching to a warmer color light, can make a difference. 

To learn more about how to reduce light pollution by retrofitting home, street, and sports lighting, as well as lit outdoor advertising like billboards, visit darksky.org.

  • Aleza Freeman

    Aleza Freeman is a Las Vegas native and award-winning journalist with two decades of experience writing and editing lifestyle, travel, entertainment, and human interest stories in Nevada. Her work has appeared in AARP magazine, Haute Living and Nevada Magazine.

CATEGORIES: COMMUNITY | LOCAL NEWS

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