This page has been reviewed for AHSP 2019 but is subject to change.

We used to have a really lengthy and unfriendly-sounding set of rules here, but think that they struck the wrong tone for AHSP. Here’s a summary of our policies:

  1. AHSP guests and staff have a well-deserved reputation for courtesy and consideration. Above all else, please help us uphold this reputation.
  2. AHSP guests are expected to comply with instructions from AHSP and Spruce Knob Mountain Center (SKMC) staff members. We’ll make every attempt to be reasonable and fair. In the end, though, our staff’s decisions are final.
  3. Leave your arsenal and drones at home! We don’t allow firearms, fireworks, or chemical weapons as well drones of any kind at AHSP.
  4. We’re sorry, but we can’t permit you to bring pets with you to AHSP. Individual exceptions may be made for helper or assistance animals.
  5. Anyone under the age of 18 years must be accompanied by a parent or an adult guardian.
  6. Registrations and payments are final. The organizers of AHSP have to make commitments based on the projected number of attendees, so we regret that we can’t offer refunds if you’re unable to attend.

Common Sense

We’ve tried to enumerate items of potential concern in our policies, but in the end it all boils down to this: we expect AHSP attendees to exercise good judgement, courtesy, and common sense. We think you’ll find AHSP to be a warm, friendly event–and we’ll do our best to be flexible and accommodating whenever it’s possible to do so.


Don’t hesitate to contact AHSP staff on-site if a problem develops. We wear staff lanyards which are different color than the attendees and can also be reached via FRS radio on channel 1.

The following are some specific notes on policy questions that frequently arise.


Alcoholic beverages are permitted at AHSP. The legal age for the consumption of alcohol in West Virginia is 21 years of age. Should you choose to consume or serve alcohol, you do so at your own risk and are responsible for conformance with West Virginia law. Please exercise good judgement, courtesy, and common sense.

Camping Area

No alterations of the site are allowed. This includes digging holes, cutting trees, etc.

Fire Safety Rules

Please make sure everyone in the camp is familiar with the use of fire safety devices in the camp and fire safety in general. No open fires or briquet cooking allowed. Only camp stoves will be permitted and only for cooking. Having a fire extinguisher nearby is highly recommended.

Garbage Disposal and Recycling

As this is a remote location, no regular trash service is available. We’ll provide a garbage bag when you check in, and we ask that you take your campsite trash with you when you depart. Under no circumstances may garbage or refuse be burned.

Late Arrival

Attendees arriving after dark MUST NOT DRIVE VEHICLES past the designated late-arrival area near the entrance of Spruce Knob Mountain Center. AHSP guests who arrive after dark are welcome to camp in the late-arrival area, or they may walk up the hill (about 0.85 mile) to the main campsites—but vehicles must remain in the late-arrival area until morning. We know it’s a pain, but it’s important for the safety and comfort of AHSP guests. This has been a problem in past years, so we’ll take a break from our friendly tone to say this clearly: Guests who disregard this important instruction are likely to be denied access to AHSP without refund.

SKMC Emergency Contact Information

If you need to be contacted in an emergency, you cannot count on cellphone connections at SKMC, due to low cell tower density and mountain blockage.

Best way to reach you is for a message to be sent to your email, and for you to connect periodically via WiFI in the vicinity of the main yurts.

Alternatively, we can take a message at or we can be called at the SKMC landline phone 304 567 2632. The phone is not monitored 24/7. Bring an FRS walkie-talkie, and we will call you. If that doesn’t work, we will post a message.

304 567 2644 is a backup. It reaches the SKMC staff residence after hours, not AHSP near the yurts.

Spruce Knob Mountain Center
18 Woodlands Way
Circleville, WV
304-567-2632 (days) or 304-567-2644 (after reg. hours)
fax: 304-567-2666

You should review the AHSP emergency plan at <>

Lights and Laser Pointers

This is a dark site. Since it is very easy to lose your dark adaption, the use of glow sticks or any source of white light is prohibited. Only low-powered, red-filtered flashlights are permitted in the observing areas. Many red headlamps and flashlights are far too bright for use in such a dark sky. If you discover that you have such a device and would like some help with filtering, just ask a member of the AHSP staff.

We ask that participants not use laser pointers. They interfere with astrophotography, and can cause problems with dark adaptation for visual observers. AHSP staff may conduct a “star tour” just after dark as part of the formal program using a laser pointer.

Astrophotographers: please remember that your computer screens and associated equipment emit a lot of light. Consider the needs of visual observers around you when filtering your equipment and shielding it from view. If you’d like to be placed in a field location where a bit of stray light won’t bother observers around you, please let our staff know and we’ll do our best to accommodate you.

Cars now have many lights — courtesy lights — which cannot easily be disabled. Some automatically turn on when you simply approach or open a door. These are a particular problem on the Yellow and Green Fields, where vehicles are adjacent to observers. It is your responsibility to cover lights you cannot disable with dark tape for the duration of AHSP.

No On-site Registration

There is no on-site registration or drop-in attendance at AHSP. All registration must be made and acknowledged before arrival. Anyone without a completed registration before heading for SKMC will not be admitted.
You may add activities on site, up to the capacity of the activity and up to the cutoff time set by the activity coordinator. Speak to a volunteer at the reception tent.

Quiet Hours

Please be considerate of your neighbors and refrain from loud talking and playing loud music at all times.

We’re asked about generators every year. We think that you’re probably safe running very quiet portable generators from noon until 7 PM, but the bottom line is that you’re responsible for being quiet enough not to annoy fellow attendees at all times.

Smoking Policies

There is no smoking permitted in any building or public tent (including, but not limited to, dorms, bath house, session tents, or meeting room). Even outdoors, if your neighbors are offended by cigar or cigarette smoke, you’re the one who will have to move.

Please dispose of cigarette or cigar butts in a proper receptacle and be courteous of others when smoking in public areas. Dropping butts on the ground is dangerous and is not permitted.