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Going Dark: AMC Parcel Designated a Dark-Sky Park

By Tom Richardson; Photo by Kevin Erdvig

If you watched our short film on the Appalachian Mountain Club’s Little Lyford Camps in Maine’s 100-Mile Wilderness, you may recall mention of the International Dark-Sky Association (IDSA). At the time (winter 2020), the AMC’s 75,000-acre parcel in the heart of north-central Maine was being considered for “Dark Sky Status,” a certification given to “land possessing an exceptional quality of starry nights and a nocturnal environment that is specifically protected for its scientific, natural, educational, and cultural heritage, and/or public enjoyment.”

Just recently, the IDSA granted International Dark Sky Park status to the AMC’s 100-Mile Wilderness parcel, making it the first International Dark Sky Park in New England. Not only is the area one of the darkest places remaining on the East Coast, it has been identified as an area of exceptionally high habitat connectivity and climate change resilience, according to the AMC.

“There’s different designations to elevate the importance of dark skies on the flora and fauna of a region, plus benefits to human health,” explains Jenny Ward, AMC Maine Business & Community Relations Manager. “What’s intriguing about [a Dark Sky designation] is that when you take away the light pollution, the natural resource you’re trying to conserve is immediately there. Some conservation projects take years to show results, but this is immediate.”