Stars fill the sky above an ancient bristlecone pine tree in this undated photo taken at Great Basin National Park, which could be home to a new research telescope as early as next summer. (Courtesy National Park Service)
People are being kept in the dark at Great Basin National Park, and they couldn’t be happier about it.
The remote preserve 300 miles northeast of Las Vegas just won certification as an International Dark Sky Park, a rare designation that places it alongside other starry wonderlands such as Death Valley National Park in California, Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument in Arizona and Capitol Reef and Canyonlands national parks in Utah.
John Barentine is program manager for the International Dark-Sky Association, a Tucson, Ariz.-based nonprofit that works to protect night skies from light pollution. He said the sky above Great Basin isn’t merely dark. It’s “as close as you can get to what the night sky might have looked like before the invention of electric light.”