As a girl raised among the dense rainforests of the Pacific Northwest, crowded with ferns, rhododendrons, and dripping with primordial mosses, my first glimpse of a Northern Arizona forest was a little disconcerting. Frankly, there just wasn't that much to it. From the roadside, all you see is a carpet of grass, lanky tree trunks spaced unsociably apart, and not much else. I was sure this was a sign of something amiss, but later learned this is just what a good stand of ponderosa pine should look like.
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For many years getting around Sedona generally meant some encounter with what was commonly known in the local vernacular as “the Y” or technically, the intersection of SR 179 and Highway 89A. The 3-way stop light made the “Y” easy to recognize and navigate.
In the summer of 2014, after many months of hard work by the Sedona non-profit organization, Keep Sedona Beautiful, and with the assistance of the City of Sedona officials, Sedona, Arizona was awarded the coveted International Dark Sky Association designation as an International Dark Sky Community. As a result, Sedona is currently one of only eleven dark sky communities in the world. Surprisingly, there are two other communities in Arizona that have received this recognition: Flagstaff, and the Kaibab Paiute Indian Reservation.
Short, sweet and simply stunning, the Bell Rock Pathway may be the most popular trail and one of the easiest of all the walk-ways and hikes in the Sedona area. Bell Rock, so named because the shape resembles that of a large bell, stands adjacent to Courthouse Butte and both, typically in tandem, are frequently the object of photographers and artists. The location also enjoys significant popularity as one of Sedona’s vortex sites.
From August 2008 until October 2009, the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) conducted a study of alternatives for continuous roadway lighting along Highway 89A in West Sedona. Before all was said and done, ADOT identified sixty-eight different alternatives for the City of Sedona to consider. The alternatives included variations such as pole heights, arm lengths, fixture types, lamp wattage, pole spacing, total number of poles, construction costs and annual maintenance costs. All of the alternatives studied by ADOT included dark sky compliant, fully shielded fixtures that supposedly would assure that the lighting would be directed downward and not escape into the night sky.
In March 2010, four new Sedona City Council members and the incumbent mayor were swept into office by what can be accurately described as a landslide. The outcome of the election was driven by dissatisfaction in the community regarding the responsiveness of the previous City Council to the community’s wishes, and the Council’s position on the controversial issue of roadway lighting on Highway 89A. All four of the new Council members as well as the incumbent mayor had signed the “Principles of Public Service,” a document that committed the new Council members to follow the "will of the people."