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RASC Designates Wood Buffalo National Park as a New Dark Sky Preserve

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Written by Deborah Thompson on
Post Date: 
Fri, 2013/08/02

RASC Designates Wood Buffalo National Park as a New Dark Sky Preserve

TORONTO, CANADA (Aug 2, 2013) – On June 28, 2013 the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC) officially designated Wood Buffalo National Park as a new RASC Dark Sky Preserve through its National Certification Program. Wood Buffalo is the 17th Dark Sky Preserve in Canada, and the first northern park, to be designated by the RASC.

Wood Buffalo NP straddles the Alberta - Northwest Territories boundary and is the largest National Park in Canada, and with an area of 44,807 km2, it is larger than all dark sky sites in the world combined.

Through this recognition, Wood Buffalo National Park is committed to protecting the night environment from the impact of artificial lighting. Together with the RASC, Parks Canada Agency recognizes that natural darkness is an ecological resource in need of protection and both organizations are committed to lighting practices that preserve the beauty and wonder of the dark sky and night environment for all Canadians to enjoy.

For thirteen years the RASC’s Dark Sky Preserve (DSP) Program has been increasing public awareness of the beauty of the night sky and the deteriorating effects of artificial lighting. DSP’s are regions with exceptionally dark skies accessible to the general public. The lighting protocol for DSP’s restricts the illumination level, extent, duration and colour to minimize its impact on the appearance of the night sky and the behaviour of wildlife. The DSP status will preserve the natural state of the region for the health and vitality of flora and fauna and for the enjoyment of the public.

The lighting protocol is based on wildlife and human research into the biological need for dark nights (scotobiology). The RASC Dark Sky Preserve Program is recognized by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), an independent organization that advises UNESCO and national governments on environmental protection issues. It has also been adopted by the International Dark-Sky Association in the United States.

The DSP Program has three objectives: to limit adverse effects of lighting within the Park, provide a guide for suitable lighting used within the Park, and suggests lighting policies that may be applied to urban areas beyond the Park boundaries. The latter will protect the DSP from deterioration by surrounding light pollution.

Founded in 1868, the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada is Canada's leading astronomy organization bringing together more than 4,200 enthusiastic amateurs, educators and professionals. RASC and its 29 Centres across Canada offer both national and local programming and services. RASC is dedicated to the Advancement of Astronomy and Allied Sciences and stimulating and inspiring interest to promote and increase knowledge in astronomy and related sciences in Canada.

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For more information please contact: Robert Dick of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada DSP Program at (613) 722-1343 or robertdick@csbg.ca

Additional Contacts:

Wood Buffalo National Park and Dark Sky Preserve - Mike Keizer, Mike.Keizer@pc.gc.ca or Tim Gauthier  tim.gauthier@pc.gc.ca

Scotobiology: Robert Dick at 613-722-1343 or rdick@csbg.ca

International Union for the Conservation of Nature: David Welch, Ph.D, Chair, Dark Skies Advisory Group         welch.ottawa@gmail.com