This year’s Grand Canyon Star Party, which concluded June 11, shined extra bright with the announcement that Grand Canyon National Park has been designated a Provisional International Dark Sky Park by the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA).
Grand Canyon now joins dozens of parks in the U.S. and abroad that maintain and celebrate a minimum of light pollution. With over 80% of the world’s population now living beneath light polluted skies, this distinction has never been more meaningful.
Besides diminishing astronomical viewing which, prior to the industrial revolution, was inseparable from the human experience dating back to mankind’s origins, light pollution has a demonstrated negative effect on wildlife and human health alike. At Grand Canyon alone, 60% of our animal species are nocturnal, so the park’s ongoing commitment to reduce the amount and intensity of exterior lighting is welcome news for these denizens of the dark.
Of course anyone who has had the pleasure of camping on a secluded beach or campsite in the Grand Canyon can tell you that gazing at the heavens after hours ranks high on the list of memorable experiences. So be sure to linger in your favorite Grand Canyon destination after sunset, and enjoy the renewal and wonder of the celestial display that will be preserved for future generations.
- Follow this link for more information: http://darksky.org/idsp/parks/
- One-third of the world cannot see the Milky Way — why that matters