Lights out!

Its that time again for my annual reminder about the importance of reducing outdoor lighting. The night sky has been slowly getting brighter over the 14 years we have been at Balsam. Its mostly due to the growth in our neighbor towns and communities but Balsam residents can do their part to preserve the night sky.

With all the new construction at Balsam, it’s a good time to remind everyone of the importance of limiting outdoor lighting from our homes. Our wildlife and folks who enjoy viewing the night sky will appreciate your efforts. Nocturnal animals sleep during the day and are active at night. Light pollution radically alters their nighttime environment by turning night into day. Lighting that emits too much light or shines when and where it’s not needed is wasteful. Wasting energy has huge economic and environmental consequences. You can get more information about the efforts of Dark Sky International to preserve our nigh skies here.

For new home construction, the Balsam Mountain Preserve Habitat Review Guidelines (see below) requires architects and builders to take steps to reduce outdoor lighting. Balsam Mountain Preserve is a gated community and outdoor lighting in general is of little use as a crime deterrent. Numerous studies have shown that homes with all night outdoor lighting are more likely to be targets of crime than those with no outdoor lights. Please do not put your outdoor lights on a timer unless you live here full time. I have driven by many homes whose owners are absent for the season with driveway and porch lights left on and controlled by timers. Lets all try to keep Balsam skies dark so animals and amateur astronomers can flourish in the new year!

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