RICHMOND, Va. – The Worldwide Darkish Sky Affiliation (IDA) has awarded Worldwide Darkish Sky Park standing to Natural Bridge State Park in Rockbridge County and Sky Meadows State Park in Fauquier County.
“With the designation of Pure Bridge and Sky Meadows, Virginia State Parks has a complete of 4 dark sky parks and Virginia has a complete of 5, greater than another state east of the Mississippi,” mentioned Virginia State Parks Director Dr. Melissa Baker. “The designation represents years of onerous work and dedication by the employees and volunteers at each parks. Our dedication to offering guests with distinctive alternatives to get pleasure from and study our pure sources is on the forefront of this venture.”
“Sky Meadows and Pure Bridge state parks now be a part of a world group of IDA Darkish Sky Locations the place guests can expertise a pure night time beneath a starry sky,” mentioned Laura Greenleaf, IDA volunteer consultant for Virginia. “On behalf of Virginia’s IDA membership, I commend DCR and the leaders at each parks for his or her dedication to our pure sources and to our human heritage. I hope that every one of Virginia’s Darkish Sky Parks will encourage their surrounding communities to make accountable, high quality outside lighting a precedence in order that Virginia can halt and reverse the a long time’ lengthy pattern of rising mild air pollution.”
Nighttime mild air pollution is frequent east of the Mississippi River, and pure nighttime darkness is disappearing, making stargazing tougher. Worldwide Darkish Sky designation acknowledges areas and organizations working to take care of areas the place the general public can see stars extra simply.
Pure Bridge is the third park within the Virginia State Park system to be named an Worldwide Darkish Sky Park. “There should not that many accomplishments that carry recognition of this caliber to the onerous work employees put into doing their jobs,” mentioned James Jones, park supervisor at Pure Bridge State Park. “Our Darkish Sky designation is a continuation of the park’s effort to carry understanding and consciousness to our pure sources. I can not thank the park employees sufficient for the onerous work they’ve given over the previous three years.”
Sky Meadows’ technique of designation as a Darkish Sky Park might be traced again a long time to astronomy applications began by volunteers who acknowledged the park’s distinctive useful resource of darkish skies simply exterior of a rising city surroundings. Extra lately, it’s the results of over 5 years of employees and volunteer dedication and group help, working collectively to satisfy the sunshine air pollution mitigation and schooling necessities vital for Sky Meadows to develop into eligible for the designation.
“Although a significant milestone, this marks extra a starting than an finish to our work in sustaining the darkish skies that we and our guests get pleasure from,” mentioned Sky Meadows Park Supervisor Kevin Bowman. “It demonstrates that a lot of what guests get pleasure from about Sky Meadows hinges on sources and components past our boundaries, and is a sobering reminder that the designation’s longevity should not be taken with no consideration. We hope it is going to encourage others to contemplate the impression that outside lighting decisions at residence and of their communities make on the conservation and delight of our valued sources.”
James River State Park was designated in 2019 and Staunton River in 2015.
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