The most precious resources to amateur astronomers are a dark, clear sky and a comfortable place to set up a telescope.
Here in the South Bay we're fortunate to have unlimited access to an excellent place for amateur astronomy, Fremont Peak State Park.
When the marine layer conspires to cover the encroaching civilization, Fremont Peak is a magical place to spend a summer night under the stars. On many nights the coastal inversion layer gives the peak warm, shirtsleeve temperatures that make it easy to observe all night long. The cameraderie of fellow stargazers makes for a rewarding experience.
Astronomers presently enjoy a very good relationship with the state park service and particularly ranger Cameron Bowers and supervisor Mary Pass. The state park is pleased to have amateur astronomers use Fremont Peak, and the park service continues to provide support for astronomy activities at the park. In exchange, members of the Fremont Peak Observatory Association provide volunteer interpreters to conduct public astronomy sessions on dark Saturday nights.
More support for astronomy and astronomers is possible at Fremont Peak State Park, and rumor has it there are a lot of exciting projects under discussion. In the next few years, significant amounts of money may become available for improvements to the park specifically to further amateur astronomy.
This year the cooperative agreement between the state park service and the Fremont Peak Observatory Association is up for renewal, and negotiations are under way. Now more than ever it's important to maintain the favorable impression the park service has of astronomy and amateur astronomers. You can help by cooperating with FPOA and the park rangers. Be a positive influence. If you observe at Fremont Peak, consider joining the FPOA and attending one of their volunteer orientation sessions.
Help make life easy for the park ranger as well. For us, Fremont Peak is a place for marathon astronomy sessions, but for Ranger Bowers, it's also his home. By respecting the few park rules, we can add to the favorable image amateur astronomers have with the park service. Fremont Peak is not just an observatory, it's also a park and wildlife habitat.
If we take care of Fremont Peak, we might be surprised at how well Fremont Peak takes care of us.
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