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Cape Lookout National Seashore Certified as International Dark Sky Park

by Mary Melnick

Dec 17, 2021

© Crystal Coast Stargazers/Alex Gu


Recently, The National Park Service and International Dark Sky Association (IDA) announced Cape Lookout National Seashore’s certification as an International Dark Sky Park. The certification recognizes the exceptional quality of the night skies of the park and the opportunities and experiences provided for visitors. The Cape Lookout National Seashore is the first Atlantic coastal Dark Sky Place in the NPS to receive this certification.


“This certification is both an honor for our community and recognition of the unique values that make this park a national treasure,” said Jeff West, superintendent, Cape Lookout National Seashore. “Embarking on this project helped me remember the wonder and amazement I felt gazing into the night sky as a child. The possibilities I imagined then are still there, dwarfing life’s daily demands when put in perspective. Maybe we all need a little star gazing right now.”



© Crystal Coast Stargazers/Alex Gu


Cape Lookout National Seashore went through a rigorous application process that took more than two years, requiring the support of partners such as Crystal Coast Stargazers, Core Sound Waterfowl Museum and Heritage Center and Carteret County Chamber of Commerce. It required an evaluation of the light fixtures within the park and its surrounding areas. The evaluation also entailed the development of a plan to maintain outdoor lighting in the future to protect the park’s dark skies so the next generation can benefit from them, too.


Throughout the year, guests can take advantage of the park’s partnership with Crystal Coast Stargazers and its astronomy programs to allow visitors to experience the beautiful night skies in eastern Carteret County and the southern Outer Banks area. The programs include presentations designed to educate the public about the effects of light pollution and how to minimize them.


For more information, visit the park’s website.


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