2014

World's Largest Dark Sky Preserve Established in Wood Buffalo National Park

Exciting new programs and dark sky festival planned to celebrate designation

FORT SMITH, NT, Aug. 2, 2013 /CNW/ - Mr. Brian Jean, Member of Parliament for Fort McMurray—Athabasca on behalf of the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Canada's Environment Minister and Minister for Parks Canada, announced today the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada's designation of Wood Buffalo National Park as Canada's newest and the world's largest Dark Sky Preserve.

"Wood Buffalo National Park's designation as the world's largest dark sky preserve is an international achievement," said Mr. Jean. "I am pleased the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada has recognized the efforts of Wood Buffalo National Park to preserve the excellent dark skies over the park for both ecological and visitor experience purposes and granted the park this valued designation."

Wood Buffalo National Park preserves night time ecology for the large populations of bats, night hawks and owls within the park, as well as providing excellent opportunities for visitors to experience the aurora borealis and the crystal clear views of the northern sky.

"This designation reaffirms what thousands of lucky visitors already know, Wood Buffalo National Park allows you to enjoy the pristine wilderness while experiencing the brilliance of the northern lights," said Minister Aglukkaq. "I hope more Canadians will visit our parks to see Canada's natural beauty."

Parks Canada has developed new visitor experience programming related to night sky viewing, nocturnal ecology and Aboriginal stories related to the night sky. The new signature experience is the Wood Buffalo Dark Sky Festival, a three-day annual event that takes place in the park August 23-25, 2013. The festival features overnight camping, astronomical presentations, a planetarium experience, night sky viewing opportunities and a family science and activity fair.

Parks Canada works to ensure Canada's historic and natural heritage is protected and, through a network of 44 national parks, 167 national historic sites, and four national marine conservation areas, invites Canadians and people around the world to engage in personal moments of inspiring discovery at our treasured natural and historic places.

For more information on Wood Buffalo National Park, please visit www.parkscanada.gc.ca.

SOURCE Parks Canada

Image with caption: "The world's largest Dark Sky Preserve has been established in Wood Buffalo National Park. (CNW Group/Parks Canada)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20130802_C2762_PHOTO_EN_29471.jpg




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