Featured photo: Light from the Milky Way reflects in Stanley Lake in the new Central Idaho Dark Sky Reserve, 130 miles northeast of Boise (photo credit: Wally Pacholka, AstroPics.com)
The Central Idaho Dark Sky Reserve, more than 1,400 square miles northeast of Boise, is the first International Dark Sky Reserve in the nation and the third largest in the world. The International Dark-Sky Association announced the designation on December 18.
The reserve stretches from Sun Valley to Stanley, and includes some of the most rugged terrain in Idaho. Most of the land is managed by the US Forest Service and includes the Sawtooth National Recreational Area and other wilderness areas.
The Central Idaho Dark Sky Reserve is so pristine that at night, interstellar dust clouds are visible in the Milky Way.
The other 11 International Dark Sky Reserves are:
- Aoraki Mackenzie, New Zealand
- Brecon Beacons National Park, Wales
- Exmoor National Park, England
- Kerry, Ireland
- Mont-Mégantic, Québec
- Moore’s Reserve, South Downs, England
- NamibRand Nature Reserve, Namibia
- Pic du Midi, France
- Rhön, Germany
- Snowdonia National Park, Wales
- Westhavelland, Germany
The International Dark-Sky Association was founded in 1988 to combat light pollution worldwide and protect the night sky for current and future generations. Its goals are to:
- Advocate for the protection of the night sky
- Educate the public and policymakers about night sky conservation
- Promote environmentally responsible outdoor lighting
- Empower the public with the tools and resources to help bring back the night
For more information, visit the International Dark-Sky Association’s website.