Maine's Katahdin Woods and Waters now a 'dark-sky' sanctuary

In this August 2017 photo, stars rotate in the night sky over the East Branch of the Penobscot River, in this time exposure at the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument near Patten, Maine. The park 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.

PATTEN, Maine — Maine’s Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument is now a “dark sky” sanctuary, the National Park Service announced Friday.

The designation by the International Dark-Sky Association is the first of its kind along the Eastern Seaboard of the U.S., the second in the National Park Service and the 12th such designation in the world.

The Park Service describes the area as “awe-inspiring,” with glittering stars and planets and occasional displays of the aurora borealis

“Experiencing the night skies here will take you back in time to the night skies first experienced by the Wabanaki 11,000 years ago and the many people who have followed in their footsteps,” said Katahdin Woods and Waters Superintendent Tim Hudson.

The Park Service is working with the Friends of Katahdin Woods and Waters on the seventh annual Stars Over Katahdin celebration, now scheduled for September. It will be an opportunity for the public, star enthusiasts, and volunteer-in-parks astronomers to observe celestial objects.

In case in-person gatherings are not allowed in September, Friends is preparing a virtual version of the event.

The almost 90,000-acre Katahdin Woods Monument was established in 2016 to protect the natural and cultural landscape of the north Maine woods, east of Baxter State Park.

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(1) comment


Nice. Now we can hardly see the stars at night. I expect we are a different people from those in the past who saw many stars and even he Milky way in all its glory.

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