The U.S. May Soon Get Its First-ever Dark Sky Reserve for Epic Stargazing
After the sun goes down, people across the globe can step out their doors, look up into the night sky, and see a few twinkling stars shining overhead.
Sure, it may look sort of nice, but people have no idea what they’re missing thanks to the overwhelming light pollution permeating our night sky. However, a new effort by a group of dark sky lovers in Idaho is looking to change that and give us all our first real glimpse of what a star-filled sky should look like.
The International Dark-Sky Association is working diligently in an attempt to have portions of Idaho designated as the United States' first ever “dark sky reserve” so stargazers have an unobstructed view of the heavens above.
"We know the night sky has inspired people for many thousands of years," John Barentine, program manager at the Tucson, Arizona-based International Dark-Sky Association, told the News & Observer. "When they are in a space where they can see it, it's often a very profound experience."
Sure, you may think this is frivolous, but according to some research, an estimated 80 percent of Americans live in regions where light pollution from homes, businesses, and more completely block out the beauty of a starry night sky.
So just where would this reserve be located? According to the Observer, leaders in both Ketchum and Sun Valley are working with the organization to designate 1,400 square miles as the reserve, which includes a large section of the Sawtooth National Recreation Area.
To help gain the designation, residents of the communities will have to adhere to a few new regulations, including installing shields over exterior light fixtures to block light from going upward and turning off any holiday lighting at night.
"Out of all the types of pollution that [Idaho Conservation League] is engaged in, I see this as one we can combat in an easier way," Dani Mazzota, whose group is assisting in the coordination efforts, told the Observer.
As the Daily Mail noted, if the community does earn the dark-sky designation, it will join just a handful of others around the globe including Aoraki Mackenzie park in New Zealand, Brecon Beacons National Park in Wales, NamibRand Nature Reserve in Namibia, Pic du Midi in France, and Westhavelland in Germany.