Auburn Astronomical Society

Dark Parks

We are often asked by the public, "Where can we go to see the _______________ (fill in the blank with eclipse, meteor shower, or comet)?" Allen Screws offers a few suggestions:

Chewacla State Park, Auburn AL

People (especially students) often ask about local observing sites I thought it would be a good idea to maintain a list at our website of local possibilities. Our old standby of course is the field near the picnic pavilion at Chewacla State Park on Hwy29 south of Auburn. This is not as good a site as it once was with the growth of Auburn, but it is close. You might need to rent a campsight to have access to the park after dark.

Amity State Park, West Point Lake

If you want/need other sites the next place to consider might be about 25 miles up I-85 near Lanett, AL on West Point Lake. I have camped at a couple of these parks (to fish), but it has struck me they have some good potential as observing sites. Though not perfect as dark-sky sites, I believe they are at least as good as Indian Springs park in Georgia where the Peach State Star Gaze is held. The nice thing about campground observing is that you don't have the security worries you might have at some other sites and when your finished- instead of a sleepy drive home you can just crawl into your tent till morning-also if it's cloudy- take your fishing poles! Amity is one of several campgrounds operated by the Corp of Engineers on West Point Lake in the LaGrange,GA-Lanett,AL area. For astronomy purposes the good news is that these parks (at least from my experience) have a limited amount of lights. Most have some type of playground or ballfield which might be fairly clear of trees. If you can't or don't want to use the playgrounds it should be possible to choose a campsight with a view over the lake in the direction you mainly want to observe-South, East etc. Reservations are accepted but not required. The cost is about $14/night. Amity is about 7 miles north of Lanett on County Rd 212. Another possibility is Stateline Park a few miles north of Amity. The good news at Stateline (for astronomers anyway!) is that nearly half the sites don't have electricity. The bad news is that most of these parks are open April to September or October (Whitetail Ridge Campground). One is open year-round- R. Shafer Heard near West Point dam, but as a lot of RVs go here I don't know about the observing possibilities. Any of the campgrounds can provide directions/maps to the the others or you can go to the Corps of Engineer's website for are maps/directions at this site to all the major parks.

Wind Creek State Park, Alexander City AL

Some other possible local sites: the dayuse/picnic area at Wind Creek State Park near Alexander City is potential site as there doesn't seem to be too many lights and you could chose your site along the shoreline to favor the direction you wish to observe. Again you would probably need to rent a campsite to have access to this area after dark. The main camping area seems to have to many trees for good observing.

Cheaha State Park, Lineville AL

If you want to go futher afield there was a dark field near the camping area at Cheaha State Park (at least this was true several years ago) the only lights visible were the aircraft warning lights on a nearby TV tower.

Florence State Park

Florence State Park(Georgia) near Eufaula has a similar type open field near it's campground.

Ringer Access/Campground at West Point GA

Directions to Ringer Access/Campground at West Point:Take exit 3 off I-85. Go through La Grange(Hamilton Rd./Franklin St.) stay on Hwy 27 for about 5.5 miles and turn left at Ringer Access sign.

Conecuh National Forest

It's a long drive, but it's not as far as west Texas.  This one gets it's own page!  Thanks to John Tatarchuk for finding this site.