This US National Park is the Latest International Dark Sky Spot

Cape Lookout National Seashore in the US has been certified as a Dark Sky Place. It is the first in the National Park Service on the Atlantic coast to be declared a dark sky place
This US National Park is the Latest International Dark Sky Spot
This US National Park is the Latest International Dark Sky Spot

One more destination in the US has joined the increasing number of 'dark sky' places. The US-based International Dark-Sky Association (IDA), an organisation which is known for battling light pollution and promoting dark skies, has certified Cape Lookout National Seashore as a Dark Sky Place,&nbspafter a two-year process.

Cape Lookout, which stretches over 56 miles of undeveloped beach across four barrier islands in the Atlantic coast of North Carolina, will be the first in the National Park Service on the Atlantic coast to receive the dark sky certification. "Not only do they serve as another exceptional National Park Service unit that understands and is fully committing to dark-sky efforts, but they also visibly demonstrate the balance between using light efficiently and coexisting with the natural, nocturnal environment with their lighting decisions," International Dark-Sky Association director Ashley Wilson said in a statement.

The award-winning International Dark Sky Places (IDSP) Program was founded in 2001 to encourage communities, parks and protected areas around the world to preserve and protect dark sites through responsible lighting policies and public education.

In April 2020, the tiny country of Niue in the South Pacific earned the distinction of being the world&rsquos first whole country to become an International Dark Sky Place. According to a press release from the IDA, the island nation of Niue &ldquohas received formal accreditation from the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) as an International Dark Sky Sanctuary and International Dark Sky Community, thus covering the whole country with Dark Sky protection and recognition and deeming it a &lsquodark sky nation&rsquo.&rdquo Read more about it here..

As of August 2021, there are over 180 certified IDSPs in the world. Check them out on an interactive map here.

The IDA certifies destinations in several categories. These are

International Dark Sky Communities
Communities are legally organised cities and towns that adopt quality outdoor lighting ordinances and undertake efforts to educate residents about the importance of dark skies.

International Dark Sky Parks
Parks are publicly- or privately-owned spaces protected for natural conservation that implement good outdoor lighting and provide dark sky programs for visitors.

International Dark Sky Reserves
Reserves consist of a dark &ldquocore&rdquo zone surrounded by a populated periphery where policy controls are enacted to protect the darkness of the core.

International Dark Sky Sanctuaries
Sanctuaries are the most remote (and often darkest) places in the world whose conservation state is most fragile.

Urban Night Sky Places
UNSPs are sites near or surrounded by large urban environs whose planning and design actively promote an authentic nighttime experience in the midst of significant artificial light at night, and that otherwise do not qualify for designation within any other International Dark Sky Places category.

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