FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 8, 2020
CONTACT: Andrew Bossie, Executive Director
Friends of Katahdin Woods and Waters
Friends of Katahdin Woods and Waters Inspired by International Dark Sky Sanctuary Designation
Patten, ME – Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument has been recognized by the International Dark-Sky Association as the first International Dark Sky Sanctuary on the eastern seaboard of the United States and only the 12th designation in the world.
“In the darkest of places, there is light to guide us forward. Beneath the ancient light from distant stars, we remember our solemn duty to preserve and protect those things we hold dear for generations to come,” said Friends of Katahdin Woods & Waters (Friends) Executive Director, Andrew Bossie. “We hope our national monument’s dark skies can be an inspiration to locals, Maine residents, and those around the world,” he continued.
Those eager to behold the dark skies of the national monument can visit the Friends of Katahdin Woods & Waters Facebook page for an announcement video that showcases the night skies. Due to the spread of Covid-19, visitors should check with the official Katahdin Woods & Waters website and local and state authorities before planning a trip.
The designation follows increased public awareness of the dark skies above Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument. In 2019, Friends released the first edition of the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument Dark Sky Guide. A new edition of the Dark Sky Guide is now available online. Print versions of this second edition of the Dark Sky Guide will soon be available from Friends upon request.
“The Dark Sky Guide highlights how our night skies are worthy of protection and hold economic opportunity to attract astro-tourists,” said Andrew Bossie. “Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument reads as a 2 of 7 on the Bortles Scale. In non-scientific speak, that means only places like Antarctica have darker skies than we do.”
Friends is also in the planning stages for the seventh annual Stars Over Katahdin, the group’s celebration of the extraordinary night skies of the Katahdin Region. Each year, Friends works with the National Park Service to gather the public, star enthusiasts, and volunteer-in-Parks astronomers to observe the stunning celestial objects above the Loop Road Overlook at Mile 6.4. During 2020’s event scheduled for September 12th, Friends plans to put a new emphasis on the efforts to preserve and protect dark skies. Friends is also preparing a virtual version of the event in case an in-person gathering is not advisable at the scheduled time.
Friends is excited about the future of the national monument and its new status as a Dark Sky Sanctuary. With a total solar eclipse expected to move directly over the national monument on April 8, 2024, Friends hopes Katahdin Woods and Waters can be a major destination for astro-tourists from around the world.
- National Park Service Press Release
- Photograph credited to John Meader. Milky Way from Loop Road Overlook.
- Photograph credited to John Meader. Volunteers prepare for Stars Over Katahdin 2019.