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Dark Skies in Saskatchewan

March 29th, 2012

Photo credit: Tourism Saskatchewan/Greg Huszar Photography

Did you know that there are Dark Sky Preserves?!

When was the last time you looked into a sky bursting with stars? If you live in the city, and sometimes the suburbs, light effluence restricts views of the heavens above. When you feel the need to gaze at the heavens above, you can head to Grasslands National Park in Saskatchewan and enjoy the splendour of the night as it was meant to be.

The Grasslands preserves is a tract of mixed grass prairie that harkens back to the province’s pre-settlement days. In 2009 the park was declared a dark-sky preserve, and became a sanctuary that is kept free of artificial light sources. Grasslands (the Darkest Dark Sky Preserve in Canada) is one of eleven preserves in Canada and currently holds the record as the largest in the world (527 sq km).

While the primary purpose of the designation is to encourage astronomy, the improved night lighting practises under the dark sky agreement assure that the park remains dark at night, thus preserving a natural environment for nocturnal wildlife, like the small population of Black-footed ferrets that were reintroduced into the prairie dog towns after a 70-year absence.

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