Oregon Outback Named World’s Largest Dark Sky Sanctuary – a Stargazer’s Paradise

Oregon’s vast Outback has become the proud host of the world’s 19th dark sky sanctuary, an expansive celestial haven spanning over 3,800 square miles. The designation, granted by DarkSky International, culminated from an extensive collaboration between federal, state, and local entities alongside dedicated community members. This achievement marks a significant milestone in the preservation of natural nightscapes, reflecting years of concerted efforts across various legal jurisdictions. The certified region, nestled within Lake County in southeastern Oregon, encompasses 2.5 million acres, rivaling the size of renowned sanctuaries. Fondly dubbed the “Oregon Outback,” this expanse promises unparalleled stargazing opportunities amidst pristine, unspoiled skies, cultivating a sanctuary for both human observers and indigenous wildlife alike.

Championed by DarkSky Delegate Dawn Nilson, Oregon’s application underscores a commitment to safeguarding the Outback’s celestial heritage amidst escalating light pollution and population growth. The proposed Oregon Outback International Dark Sky Sanctuary (OOIDSS) envisions a sprawling expanse exceeding 11.4 million acres, offering a beacon of hope for preserving nocturnal ecosystems. Rooted in the principles of the International Dark Sky Places Program, this initiative emphasizes voluntary preservation efforts, responsible lighting practices, and public education. Situated within the Basin and Range Province, the Oregon Outback boasts rugged terrain and sparse habitation, fostering an ideal habitat for diverse fauna such as bighorn sheep and greater sage grouse. As stakeholders unite to navigate the final phases of the application process, the prospect of expanding the sanctuary to encompass adjacent counties signals a promising future for celestial conservation in the American West, echoing the ethos of other esteemed Dark Sky Parks across the nation.

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