Big honor for central Idaho: designated "Dark Sky Reserve" - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Big honor for central Idaho: designated "Dark Sky Reserve"

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A giant chunk of central Idaho with a dazzling night sky has become the nation's first International Dark Sky Reserve.

The International Dark-Sky Association designated the 1,400-square-mile Central Idaho Dark Sky Reserve.

The sparsely populated area's night skies are so pristine that interstellar dust clouds are visible in the Milky Way.  Researchers say 80 percent of North Americans live in areas where light pollution blots out the night sky.

The Forest Service has supported the designation as part of its mandate to preserve natural and scenic qualities. It has reduced light pollution from its buildings, but said mitigation by others in the recreation area would be voluntary.

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