The US's First Dark Sky Reserve Is Now Open for Stargazing

It’s the third largest — of only 12 — in the world

By Evan Bleier

 
The US's First Dark Sky Reserve Is Now Open for Stargazing
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20 December 2017

The dark web is a place most people will want to avoid.

The dark sky, however, is a wonderful, mysterious, potentially euphoric place.

Which is why the International Dark-Sky Association declared a 1,400-square-mile piece of land in central Idaho the first International Dark Sky Reserve in the United States earlier this week.

Including lands in Blaine, Custer and Elmore Counties as well as the Sawtooth National Recreation Area, the designated area's night skies are so clean that Milky Way dust clouds are visible to the naked eye after dark. The third-largest International Dark Sky Reserve (there are only 12 in the world), the reserve is seen as a way to support local nocturnal wildlife, boost home values in the area and draw tourists.

“The importance of today’s achievement to the dark-skies movement in the United States cannot be understated,” said IDA executive director J. Scott Feierabend. “Given the complexity of International Dark Sky Reserve nominations and the rigor of the protections that IDA requires for this honor, this is certainly a watershed moment in the history of American conservation.”

Interested in not seeing the light? Head to Idaho or find a designated dark sky site near you.

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