What do the night skies look like where you are?
The International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) is dedicated to protecting night skies for present and future generations. Their International Dark Sky Places conservation program recognizes and promotes excellent stewardship of the night sky. There are five types of International Dark Sky designations: Communities, Parks, Reserves, Sanctuaries, and Developments of Distinction.
An International Dark Sky Park is land with exceptional or distinguished quality of starry nights and a protected nocturnal environment. Parks often provide dark sky programs for visitors.
DID YOU KNOW? Dark starry skies are unavailable to 99% of people in the continental United States and Western Europe.
Cherry Springs State Park is located within the 262,000 acre Susquehannock State Forest on the Allegheny Plateau at 2,300 feet above sea level. Light pollution from surrounding communities are screened due to their location in deep valleys. The closest city is 60 miles away. These characteristics contribute to optimum night sky viewing.
We recently spent a long weekend camping at Cherry Springs State Park. Our review and photos can be found on theDyrt or below:
The campground at Cherry Springs State Park has 30 sites and vault toilet restrooms. Pets are not permitted.
But don’t go for the camping. Cherry Springs State Park is an International Dark Sky Park and measures a 2 on the Bortle dark-sky scale. Go for the night skies – to see the stars and the Milky Way.
There are nearby state parks with daytime activities (try Lyman Run State Park for the swimming beach, hiking, and ATV trails).
- Astronomy field is only for serious amateur astronomers and must be reserved (observe from the public viewing area behind the campground)
- Use red light even in the campground (free red cellophane available near the amphitheater)
- Site 26 is the best for unobscured night sky viewing
- Dress warmly (evenings are very cold, even in the summer)
- Do not expect cell service (even within an hour driving radius)
- Be prepared (nearest city of Williamsport is an hour away; firewood may be available at Lyman Run State Park concession stand)
Other IDA designated locations we’ve explored include:
International Dark Sky Parks
- Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, California, United States
- Big Bend National Park, Texas, United States
- Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, Colorado, United States
- Capitol Reef National Park, Utah, United States
- Chaco Culture National Historic Park, New Mexico, United States
- Death Valley National Park, California, United States
- Flagstaff Area National Monuments, Arizona, United States
- Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona, United States
- Joshua Tree National Park, California, United States
- Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park, Alberta, Canada and Montana, United States
International Dark Sky Communities
- Big Park / Village of Oak Creek, Arizona, United States
- Borrego Springs, California, United States
- Flagstaff, Arizona, United States
- Sedona, Arizona, United States
August 25 – 28, 2017