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The Webfooted Astronomer - June 2001
New Rattlesnake Lake Observing Site Opens to SAS Members
By Greg Donahue
THE Seattle Astronomical Society (SAS) has recently concluded negotiations with the City of Seattle Cedar River Watershed and the North Bend Sheriff's Office for use of a new observing site at Rattlesnake Lake. This site is separate from the turn-around/cul-de-sac site that many of us have used for years.
The new site: backside of the lake
The new site is at the back (northwest) side of Rattlesnake Lake, behind two locked gates. The SAS now has combination locks on both those gates. Unlike the turn-around site, access to this new site is carefully controlled. There are three main requirements for using the new site:
The SAS Secretary, Greg Donohue, will have copies of the Rattlesnake Lake Use Agreement and SAS ID tags at the monthly general meetings.
The back side of the lake offers darker skies and lower horizons to the east. Those who have used the turn-around site are aware of the sky-glow from Seattle. In addition, there are now two motion-sensitive streetlights at the turn-around. There are no lights at the back side of the lake, and Rattlesnake Ledge blocks the sky-glow from Seattle.
Use of the new site is a privilege granted to us by the Cedar River Watershed. The site is environmentally sensitive, so it is important that members follow all of the terms of the use agreement carefully. Failure to do so by one member may result in closure of the site to all members. You will be given a copy of the Use Agreement, so be sure to leave it in the glove box of your car for reference when you use the site.
Finally, if you do use the new site and happen to run across one of the Watershed personnel, please take time to thank them for opening this site up for astronomical viewing. In a time when many officials are placing more and more restrictions on public access, the folks at the Cedar River Watershed are bucking the trend. We need to encourage such behavior both by expressions of our thanks, as well as by respecting and following the guidelines for use of the site.
The old site: turn-around/cul-de-sac
SAS members may continue to use the turn-around site for observing. However, you should be aware of these new guidelines:
If you have any questions about use of either site at Rattlesnake Lake, contact Greg Donohue by e-mail at email@example.com, or by phone at (206) 701-2097 (work) or (425) 487-2187 (home).
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