Welcome! You are viewing an archived issue of SaskSecrets, Tourism Saskatchewan's Online Newsletter, from November 2009. To read the current issue of SaskSecrets, click here.
Grasslands National Park Canada’s Newest Dark Sky Preserve
It was recently announced that Grasslands National Park will join Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park as a designated Dark Sky Preserve (DSP).
With this DSP designation, Grasslands National Park will join the growing list of other national parks and national historic sites where Parks Canada continues to provide leadership in mitigating the potential impact of excessive artificial lighting on the night environment and the need to prevent that impact while enhancing its visitor service infrastructure.
What is a Dark Sky Preserve?
Grassland National Park becomes the 11th DSP in Canada, the darkest and largest DSP in Canada, and possibly the largest in the world. It is currently 57,100 hectares (57.1 square km) in size and will grow over time to 92,100 hectares. Cypress Hills DSP, which straddles the Saskatchewan/Alberta border, previously held the size record at 39,600 hectares (that's 97,850 football fields!).
A DSP since 2004, Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park was the first park in Saskatchewan and Alberta to become fully recognized as a North America DSP. Because there is no lighting throughout most of the Cypress Hills Dark Sky Preserve, it is a remarkable place to view the natural beauty of the starry sky.
Every August, stargazers gather in Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park for the Summer Star Party. Telescopes are set up and members of astronomical societies come from all over to scan the best dark skies in North America, share their knowledge, and create one of the largest gatherings of stargazers in Canada.