Newfoundland’s Terra Nova National Park is now the province’s first Dark Sky Preserve, and the twentieth preserve of its kind in Canada.
According to Catherine McKenna, the Environment and Climate Change Minister, the designation is part of “ongoing work with the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada … to preserve the integrity of the night sky and nocturnal habitats in the national park.”
The park, which received its designation last month, has spent the last few years being retrofitted to eliminate as much light pollution as possible.
“We’re trying … to improve visibility of the night sky, and of course… reduce energy consumption as well,” Karen Wolfrey, Terra Nova’s acting superintendent Newfoundland east field unit, told CBC News.
Now, visitors to Terra Nova will have amazing views of the Milky Way, meteor showers, and distant planets.
The park has also been educating visitors and locals about the benefits of reduced light pollution as part of its qualification. Wolfrey and her team have highlighted several specific locations across the park that are particular good spots to observe the night sky and, as of 2017, the park offers special viewing kits for visitors.
Beyond giving the public better views of the night sky, reducing light pollution also helps support local wildlife whose natural patterns are interrupted by artificial light.
Canada has the most Dark Sky Preserves in the world. Parks Canada properties make up 11 of the 20, spread across five provinces including New Brunswick, Ontario, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Nova Scotia.