Prineville Reservoir State Park has been certified as an International Dark Sky Park and is the first Oregon park to make the list of the places around the world with the least nighttime light pollution.
The certification recognizes the exceptional quality of the park’s night skies as well as efforts to install environmentally responsible lighting and educate the public about light pollution.
Prineville Reservoir joins only 174 locations worldwide to have followed the rigorous application program.
The park’s location in central Oregon, which is booming in population, makes it more critical as a place to enjoy star-gazing without light pollution, according to the Dark-Sky Association. To compete for the designation, park staff had to replace harsh outdoor lights with soft yellow and red lighting to reduce skyglow, the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department said in a statement.
The designation will bring tourists from light-polluted cities and should attract astronomers of all levels, said Bill Kowalik, chair of the Oregon Chapter of the International Dark-Sky Association.