It’s Official: Snowdonia – International Dark Sky Reserve
4 December 2015
In Abergynolwyn today (Friday, December 4th), it was announced that Snowdonia is now an International Dark Sky Reserve, the tenth in the world.
This designation is given by the International Dark Sky Institute to select destinations that have proven that the quality of their night air is outstanding and real efforts are being made to reduce light pollution. Currently, International Dark Sky Reserves can be found in 9 locations throughout the world and in addition to this announcement for Snowdonia, out of all the countries of the world, Wales is the country with the highest percentage of its dark sky designated as an International Dark Sky.
Emyr Williams, Chief Executive of Snowdonia National Park Authority added,
"Receiving this designation is very good news for the residents, businesses, visitors and the wildlife of Snowdonia. Unfortunately, the opportunity to enjoy the night sky and its stars is in decline, the living patterns of nocturnal creatures are dwindling and as light pollution is rising, it contributes to these deteriorations. However, with this designation, the area’s wildlife will be improved, the quality of the environment will be protected, there will be a new natural attraction to attract new visitors to Snowdonia on quiet periods of the year, the local economy will be improved and the dark sky above Snowdonia will be protected for future generations.”
Announcing the news from its headquarters in Tucson Arizona, on behalf of the Dark Sky Institute Directors, John Barentine said,
"I sincerely congratulate Snowdonia National Park on becoming an International Dark Sky Reserve, the tenth throughout the world. Wales now leads the world in the percentage of its territory enjoying protected status for its night skies: as of today, these protections now encompass nearly 18% of the Wales’ land area. Nowhere else has achieved comparable success in recognizing the value of night time darkness and taking concrete steps to safeguard it for future generations."
One of the officers who was involved in the bid for the status is Rhys Owen, Head of the Authority’s Agriculture, Conservation and Woodlands Service. He said,
"The response we've received from the communities of Snowdonia has been extremely positive, and the support from Brecon Beacons National Park and the International Institute for Dark Skies has been very encouraging. In winning this status, we also hope to not only protect the environment and enhance the biodiversity and dark skies of the area, but we will go a step further than other designations in the world by raising awareness of the features that link the stars of our culture, from the Mabinogi to the old penillion!"
The announcement today is the starting point of Snowdonia National Park Authority’s journey. A stargazing event for beginners has been arranged at Llyn Geirionnydd on Saturday evening and on Tuesday evening, December 14th, an introduction to astrophotography will be held in Croesor on an evening when the Meteor Shower from the Gemini constellation is expected to be seen. A poster designing competition for pupils within the catchment of Snowdonia promoting the virtues of dark skies has also been arranged.
For more information on dark skies in Snowdonia, visit firstname.lastname@example.org or contact email@example.com.
Notes to Editors
1. The other International Dark Sky Reserves of the world are Aoraki Mackenzie (New Zealand), Brecon Beacons National Park (Wales), Exmoor National Park (England), Kerry (Ireland), Mont-Mégantic (Québec), NamibRand Nature Reserve (Namibia), Pic du Midi (France), Rhön and Westhavelland (Germany).
2. Dark Skies designations in Wales are:
* Snowdonia National Park - International Dark Sky Reserve (silver status)
* Brecon Beacons National Park - International Dark Sky Reserve (bronze status)
* Elan Valley - International Dark Sky Park
* Pembrokeshire Coast National Park - Dark Sky Discovery Sites
3. If using the images attached, credit should be given to the copyright holder, photographer Keith O’Brien.