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Regarding the Future Return of TMSP to the Table Mountain Site
The most frequent question the Directors of TMSPA have been asked in the last two years is "When are we going back to the Table Mountain site?"
The honest answer is, at this point we really don't know.
We have continued to converse with our representatives from the Forest Service in the time since the Table Mountain Complex Fire in September, 2012. For the first two years, there was sincere doubt from both parties that the Forest Service would issue Special Use permits that are required for an event like ours in an area that had so recently burned. Then, after the 2014 star party, the Forest Service informed us that obtaining a permit might be possible, but with restrictions on the area we would be allowed to use and a limit on the number of attendees.
After discussion during the last meeting of the TMSPA Board, it was determined that the terms of the proposed permit were financially untenable for us to pursue. The limit on the number of attendees would put TMSPA well below covering the fixed costs of putting on the star party. We could not justify limiting the attendance and drastically increasing fees in order to cover those costs.
It needs to be clearly stated that we (TMSPA) believe the Forest Service is acting in good faith, and this is not finger-pointing at them for blame on why we are not returning to Table Mountain. They are dealing with environment that is in the very early stages of recovering from a major fire and are understandably taking a conservative approach, letting nature run its course for the area to recover. It is unreasonable to think that TMSP could return to Table Mountain and resume "business as usual" under the circumstances. Returning to the site too soon well may hinder the recovery that is needed for us to have the event in the manner we all became accustomed to over the thirty-plus years it was held at Table Mountain. We need to do our part in letting the area recover.
With that said, the Table Mountain Star Party is going to take place elsewhere for the foreseeable future. TMSPA is undergoing a forced-evolution in the wake of the Table Mountain fire. There are many factors and options the Directors are considering as we, as an organization, move forward in the coming years. What remains constant is that we are committed to continuing putting on a star party with the best programming and observing conditions that can be reasonably found for the largest number of participants we can allow for.
We are grateful for the support from the community of our attendees, and we look forward to serving you for many years to come.
The TMSPA Board of Directors