The Naval Observatory Flagstaff Station (NOFS), classified as a dark-sky observing site, is located approximately 5 miles west of downtown Flagstaff situated on 287 acres of Navy-owned land which is surrounded by Arizona State Trust land, US Forest Service land (Coconino National Forest), and smaller private holdings.

Demand for land in the area and the sale of lands owned by the Arizona State Land Department, the US Forest Service, and other parties in proximity to the installation, presented extreme challenges to NOFS’ ability to preserve its dark sky environment. The goal of this project was to examine and recommend various options to protect and safeguard NOFS’ mission.

In order to accomplish this goal, Matrix planners engaged local stakeholders, including federal agencies (US Forest Service, US Fish and Wildlife, Department of Defense, and the Navy), state agencies (Arizona State Land Department and the Arizona Department of Fish and Game), local jurisdictions (City of Flagstaff and Coconino County), Northern Arizona University, and other private landowners, to develop a collaborative working relationship under the desire for common goals. Matrix developed a Comprehensive Baseline Report and Encroachment Action Plan (EAP) designed to foster the relationships built through this process and preserve the vital lands needed for the continued operation of the Naval Observatory.

This EAP addresses the implementation of critical and unique land use concepts, acquisitions, easements, and zoning agreements to ensure minimal impact to the critical mission objectives of the Naval Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona. The EAP provides the framework for cooperative meetings, policies and actions between, local, state, federal, and community landowners and stakeholders with the Navy to minimize encroachment and preserve capability for the future.

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