The long road to Lake Superior Provincial Park’s Dark Sky Preserve

Today’s post comes from Charlotte Westcott, a Discovery Program staff member at Lake Superior Provincial Park.

As the sun sets, the stars begin to appear. Like old friends, their familiar glow brings us home no matter how far away our house may be. Our friendly acquaintances, the constellations, trace their way across the sky. The white glow of the Milky Way emerges slowly to drown out its fainter neighbours.

Far away from the light pollution of major cities, Lake Superior Provincial Park’s night sky is one of the darkest in North America.

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The Lake Superior Provincial Park Dark Sky Preserve

On July 17, 2018, Lake Superior Provincial Park was officially recognized as a nationally certified Dark Sky Preserve by the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, becoming our second provincial park to earn this prestigious designation.

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The Killarney Provincial Park Dark Sky Preserve

In 2018, Killarney Provincial Park became Ontario’s first provincial park to be designated as a Dark Sky Preserve by the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada!

Dark Sky Preserve badge

We are committed to the protection and preservation of our province’s biodiversity. The night skies in their natural splendour are an important part of that protection.

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Zodiacal light and the gegenschein

The importance of having dark sky preserves cannot be understated.

In addition to the many benefits already described previously in our blog, you can see many things that others can’t from the light-polluted skies of our urban and, increasingly, our rural locations.

The zodiacal light and the gegenschein are two phenomena known for centuries, but only visible in dark skies with a good western or eastern horizon.

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Do the skies need our protection?

Stars as seen in midnight’s gaze
Stars shining upon shoreline’s haze
Guiding us, teaching us with stories manifold
About ourselves, stars speak, from birth till old.
Their permanence ties us to days gone by
But to hide their secrets, they still do try
To gaze upon them brings dreams of futures bright
But to see them vanish, is to lose much delight.

~Bruce Waters

At Ontario Parks, we’re committed to the protection and preservation of our province’s biodiversity. The night skies in their natural splendour is an important part of that protection.

Continue reading Do the skies need our protection?