Be careful not to compromise dark skies

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Later this spring crews will get to work on the North Lake McDonald Road to extend power and phone lines to Kelly’s Camp. The camp, as most of you are aware, was razed by the Howe Ridge Fire last summer.

Prior to the fire, Kelly’s Camp was a sleepy little place, a series of private parcels with small cabins that had been held by generations of families.

It was off the grid — a small hydroelectric facility in a nearby creek provided power.

In the winter, the system was shutdown and Kelly’s Camp went black.

And therein lies the concern with some folks about extending power to Kelly’s Camp. The night skies around Lake McDonald, particularly in the winter, are coveted by many folks. Yes, there still is some light pollution, most from security lights in and around Lake McDonald Lodge and the Village Inn, But the skies above Kelly’s Camp, where Polaris also sits, are perfectly black.

If power is extended, there will certainly be more lights on more buildings as inholders rebuild.

Don’t get me wrong — they have every right to rebuild — but it would behoove the powers to be at Glacier National Park to work out some sort of an agreement with the inholders to preserve those night skies to the extent it is possible.

Inholders at the head of the lake, which already has power year-round have put in lights. Why they have to blaze all winter is beyond me — the roads aren’t plowed and access is via a two-plus mile ski. But they’re on and there’s not much one can do but to ask nicely to shut them off.

The same sort of scenario could easily happen at Kelly’s Camp.

Glacier has touted itself as an International Dark Skies Park. Now is the time to assure that designation isn’t compromised.

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