Southern Oregon (USA) designated as world’s largest Dark Sky Sanctuary

Oregon (USA) establishes itself as a leading destination for astrotourism, thanks to its designation as the largest celestial reserve in the world

The Southern Oregon region (USA) has been officially recognized as the world’s largest Dark Sky Sanctuary, encompassing an impressive 10,000 square kilometers. This prestigious designation, bestowed by DarkSky International—a leading organization committed to the preservation of night skies—highlights areas that offer exceptionally high-quality starry skies. To achieve this status, a location must demonstrate not only its astronomical value but also adhere to strict criteria including appropriate lighting usage and public accessibility.

An unparalleled haven for star gazers

Located in the sparsely populated and remote area known as the Oregon Outback, this sanctuary spans vast public lands and is renowned for its rich wildlife, diverse geological formations, and unparalleled visibility of the constellations.

Dawn Nilson, the environmental consultant who spearheaded the area’s nomination, emphasized the critical importance of preserving the Outback’s unmatched expanse and quality of dark skies, especially in light of growing population densities and increasing light pollution.

A project in expansion to safeguard the night sky

The Oregon Outback Dark Sky Sanctuary, already the largest of its kind, is set for significant expansion through three phases of growth. The initial phase encompasses areas such as Summer Lake, the Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge, and parts of the Fremont-Winema National Forest. Future phases will include extensive areas of Harney and Malheur counties, eventually covering 11.4 million acres—roughly one-fifth of Oregon’s total area.

The successful realization of this project took four years of close collaboration among federal, state, and local agencies, culminating in a comprehensive lighting management plan that includes the dismantling and retrofitting of lights on both public and private lands.

Bob Hackett, executive director of Travel Southern Oregon, highlighted the critical role of this collaboration in promoting regenerative tourism, which enhances visitor experiences, provides opportunities for local businesses, and preserves the legacy of the night skies for future generations.

With the addition of this sanctuary, the total number of Dark Sky Sanctuaries globally reaches 19, spread across five continents. Since its inception in 2001, DarkSky International has recognized over 200 locations as dark skies, playing a pivotal role in preserving the night sky’s beauty for the benefits of science, nature, and education across 22 countries.

Source: DarkSky International

Condividi su Whatsapp Condividi su Linkedin