Central Idaho Dark Sky Reserve

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Central Idaho Dark Sky Reserve
Sawtooth Valley ID1.jpg
Map showing the location of Central Idaho Dark Sky Reserve
Map showing the location of Central Idaho Dark Sky Reserve
LocationIn and around Sawtooth National Recreation Area
Nearest cityKetchum, Idaho, United States
Coordinates44°0′N 114°50′W / 44.000°N 114.833°W / 44.000; -114.833Coordinates: 44°0′N 114°50′W / 44.000°N 114.833°W / 44.000; -114.833[1]
Area1,416 sq mi (3,670 km2)

The Central Idaho Dark Sky Reserve is a 1,416-square-mile (3,670 km2) dark-sky preserve near the Sawtooth National Recreation Area, in the U.S. state of Idaho. It was designated on December 18, 2017 and is the first gold-tier dark sky preserve in the United States.[2][3][4] The area was designated by International Dark-Sky Association. The area includes the city of Ketchum, Idaho which was separately designated a "Dark Sky Community" in 2017.[5] Idaho State Highway 75 in the Sawtooth Valley between Redfish Lake and Pettit Lake roughly traverses the reserve's "core areas".[1] Several sky quality meters are installed along State Highway 75 in this area.[1] Local communities and federal authorities collaborated in the designation; the governments will take measures such as shielding street lights to preserve the area's dark sky;[5][6] Ketchum has had a dark sky ordinance since 1999, and Sun Valley, also in the reserve, has its own local ordinance.[7][8] The U.S. Forest Service, which manages much of the land in the area, will post informational signs about the dark sky reserve, and has said it will reduce light pollution from its buildings; compliance by individuals on Forest Service land will be voluntary.[7]

Another dark sky certification effort was under way in 2017 about 80 miles (130 km) away at Bruneau Dunes State Park, which hosts a public astronomical observatory.[9][10]


  1. ^ a b c Central Idaho Dark Sky area map (PDF), Blaine County, Idaho GIS – via Central Idaho Dark Sky Reserve official website
  2. ^ Rocky Barker (December 18, 2017), "America's first dark sky reserve is right here in Idaho", Idaho Statesman, Boise, Idaho
  3. ^ Keith Ridler (December 20, 2017), Chunk of Idaho with 'dazzling' star scenes becomes nation's first International Dark Sky Reserve, Associated Press – via Chicago Tribune
  4. ^ "Idaho Gets A 'Dark Sky Reserve'", Morning Edition, NPR, December 22, 2017
  5. ^ a b Matt Guilhem (October 31, 2017), Ketchum Designated Idaho's First "Dark Sky Community", Boise State Public Radio
  6. ^ Betsy Mizell (December 19, 2017), Central Idaho Earns Designation as the Nation's First Dark Sky Reserve, Idaho Conservation League
  7. ^ a b Keith Ridler (September 15, 2017), Idaho hopes to bring stargazers to first US dark sky reserve, phys.org
  8. ^ Cristle Jose (November 1, 2017), Ketchum: first city in Idaho to become Dark Sky Community, Twin Falls, Idaho: KMVT-TV
  9. ^ Bruneau Dunes State Park Receives Laura Moore Cunningham Foundation Grant to Further Dark Sky Certification Efforts, Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation, August 30, 2017
  10. ^ "Grant helps Bruneau Dunes' quest for dark-sky certification", Times-News, Twin Falls, Idaho, August 30, 2017

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