Jasper, Alberta – Canada is one of the coolest places for a star search. Jasper National Park officially became a Dark Sky Preserve In March of 2011, designated by the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC). At more than more than 10,000 square km, Jasper National Park it is the largest wilderness park in the Canadian Rockies and was the largest Dark Sky Preserve in the world. The region remains one of the only areas in southwestern Canada with exceptional darkness. In 2013 Wood Buffalo National Park officially took over as the Largest Dark Sky Preserve in the World (the park is larger than Switzerland) however Jasper remains the largest easily accessible one (four-hour drive from Edmonton.) Special parks programming has been created to enhance visitors ‘star gazing’ experiences, including daytime Sidewalk Astronomy Roves throughout the summer, and fall interpretive highlights including Mysteries of the Night – Out Beyond the Street, Our Solar System, and Galaxies and Nebula programming out at Whistlers Campground. You can get more information at www.JasperDarkSky.org
Where: The drive from the town of Jasper to the spectacularly scenic Maligne Lake, includes a great road route for spotting wildlife, from elk and moose to grizzly and black bear. It also takes you past Medicine Lake – another cool site because it drains like a giant bathtub each year. Just several km from Jasper you can also see Pyramid Lake – where we once had a secret military project to build an aircraft carrier out of ice.
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Skyline Hiking Trail, Jasper National Park, Improvement District No. 12, AB T0E, Canada
One thought on “Jasper National Park – the world’s largest easily accessible Dark Sky Preserve”
Hello Lucy – Wood Buffalo NP Dark Sky Preserve is easily accessible from Fort Smith NT. The town has schedule air services with daily flights from Edmonton and Yellowknife. As well there is an all-season highway thru WBNP which they recently completed paving.
As well, Thebacha & Wood Buffalo Astronomical Society operates Canada’s most northerly public observatory (roll-off roof design) and we feature a unique family oriented and very affordable annual Dark Sky Festival (www.tawbas.ca)
Cheers – Mike Couvrette (Chair – Thebacha & WB Astronomical Society)