Update April 17, 2012: the Final Environmental Impact Report is now expected out on May 9, with final approval on May 24.
Should San Francisco erect 60-foot-tall bright lights over the Beach Chalet soccer fields at the west end of Golden Gate Park (see Dec. 22 article)?
The National Park Service in February said “no”. The NPS letter states, “[T]he athletic fields are approximately 450 feet from parklands which are owned and managed by the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.” The letter describes the area as “the core of the city’s dark sky zone [used] by local astronomers for night sky observing. . . . This visitor use is . . . a management emphasis under our National Park Service (NPS) Management Policy on Dark Skies.” Bright lights, or as the letter states “improper lighting”, will also “disrupt natural resource processes.”
We hope that these strong words will help San Francisco’s Planning Department rethink the soccer-arena plan. Opponents do not object to soccer fields, if they are lit by natural light and use natural turf, not artificial turf. The department will be issuing a Final Environmental Impact Report, but we do not know when.