Welcome to Jasper National Park Dark Sky Preserve!
“Night hides the world but reveals the universe.” Persian proverb.
Have you ever explored Jasper National Park at night? Have you ever been in the wild of this wonderful place, late in the evening while others were fast asleep? That is when the skies come alive... a magical moment that commands us to lie down, and gaze at the heavens. Or, if you prefer- find your pair of binoculars or a telescope and wonder about what’s really out there.
On March 26, 2011 the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC) officially designated Jasper National Park a Dark Sky Preserve (DSP). Encompassing over 11 000 km2, the park is one of the world’s largest preserves.
But what does this all mean once you’re lying down on the ground?
It means we’ll be able to do it again and again for years! Dark Sky Preserves make a special commitment to protect and preserve the night sky and to reduce or eliminate light pollution in all its forms. Jasper National Park and its residents are taking extra steps, such as replacing older street lights and improving Parks Canada operations to have a minimal impact on an unimpeded night sky. We also host a number of special programs throughout the fall and winter months to highlight the importance of our Dark Skies status and to promote better awareness of how important the reduction of light pollution really is.
To celebrate this designation Jasper National Park has developed innovative dark sky programs and a video that will help you appreciate this great way of experiencing the park. Local businesses and the greater tourism community of Jasper have also embraced the special status that Jasper enjoys- with an annual Jasper Dark Sky Festival held every October. For more information on these activities, visit: www.jasperdarkskyfest.com
Top 4 Tips for Great Night Sky Viewing in Jasper
1. Great places without light
Pyramid Island, Maligne Lake and Athabasca Glacier are three outstanding sites within the park which are accessible year round. But any lakeshore or riverside away from the townsite is an excellent place to experience Jasper’s dark skies.
2. Get Your Camera Out
Dark Sky viewing is best when you can take it home with you. Invest in a Digital SLR, a wide angle lens with a low apeture and a tripod. There’s a number of easy, excellent tutorials on the web and beginning level images are easy to take with most beginner level camera kits.
3. Plan to Attend the Dark Skies Festival
The Jasper Dark Sky Festival is full of speakers and workshops for all levels of astronomy fans. Make a point of attending this event to get the full scoop on all things astro or attend a local star party event near you.
4. Spend the Night Under The Stars- Go Camping
Roadside campgrounds are found in a variety of striking locations around the park- from Pocahontas in the east to Wilcox and the Icefield Campgrounds along the Icefields Parkway. Take a tent or an RV- set up a cozy and crackling campfire, and get immersed in Jasper’s Dark Skies by sleeping underneath them.
Or, for a truly immersive experience, try camping at one of Jasper’s nearly 100 backcountry campsites. Some excellent locations to experience our dark skies are Big Bend, Surprise Point in the Tonquin Valley, and Jacques Lake.
Dark Sky Video