Letter to the editor: Town of Forest’s decision on dark-sky initiative wasn’t based on facts

By JANET JORDAN | Ontario

Who would have thought that a recent request brought before a local township board would have stirred the proverbial poop pot? The request seemed a no-brainer. The request was asking the township to support an initiative that Wildcat Mountain State Park is hoping to secure. That initiative is to have the park designated as a dark-sky park. The Kickapoo Valley Reserve is also looking to do the same. Being a dark-sky park is a nice feather to add to the park’s cap, as it has national and international designation. A dark-sky park is a destination that those crazy stargazers can be pretty well certain that they will be able to view the Milky Way and other out-of-this-world constellations without the intrusion of light pollution. 

 Apparently, a handful of township residents chose to jump on the conspiracy train of misinformation, and lo and behold, we have fear of the light-collecting boogeyman. Somehow the talk of the township was, “First it’s dark skies at the park, and what’s stopping ‘them’ from coming and making me turn out my lights?” People chose to not be informed. People chose not to read the handout given to them and “assumed.” People chose not to go to the website provided to learn more about the dark-sky initiative. People chose to be ignorant of facts and instead chose to spread misinformation. 

We have tourists who plan their weekend getaway to this area during peak star gazing. These people spend their city dollars at the local hotel, bed and breakfast sites, and cabin rentals. They are referred to the local eateries in Ontario. They are renting canoes and shopping at our local bakeries and wayside farm stands. Why would we not support an initiative that brings much-needed revenue to our neck of the woods? You cannot find what we have here in the Kickapoo Valley in Wisconsin Dells! 

I would hope that next time a request comes before our town board, our elected officials would do their upmost best to fully explore and educate themselves on the facts and ramifications of what is being requested so when “fears” and rumors start to spread, they can be put to rest with facts and information. For anyone wanting more information on the dark skies, go to www.darksky.org.

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