HARKER ISLAND — The National Park Service is partnering with several local organizations to seek International Dark Sky Park designation for Cape Lookout National Seashore.

The NPS at Cape Lookout announced Tuesday it’s partnering with the Carteret County Chamber of Commerce, the Core Sound Waterfowl Museum and Heritage Center and the Crystal Coast Stargazers to seek designation as an International Dark Sky Park. As partners in this initiative, the Carteret County Chamber of Commerce will promote and publicize the national seashore’s application and objectives amongst its member organizations.

Meanwhile, the Core Sound museum will be a part of planned tourism activities and will include outreach presentations on promoting the preservation of night skies during events. The Crystal Coast Stargazers, a local astronomy club, has been a partner with the park service at Cape Lookout since the beginning of the application process.

“The Chamber of Commerce is very excited to be a partner in bringing astronomy-based tourism opportunities to our county,” said Tom Kies, president of the Carteret Chamber of Commerce. “It’s another great reason to visit the Crystal Coast.”

“We look forward to partnering with the Crystal Coast Stargazers with our education programming in the future,” explained Karen Amspacher, executive director of the Core Sound museum. “Core Sound Waterfowl Museum is totally committed to preserving our cultural and natural resources, even our skies! For us, this will be an opportunity to increase our understanding and appreciation for the beautiful night skies that we often take for granted.”

Jeff West, superintendent of Cape Lookout added, “If you live on the East Coast, there is no place like Cape Lookout National Seashore to experience viewing our amazing nighttime skies – the stars and planets are so vivid. These partnerships exist so everyone has the opportunity to know about, and see this amazing resource.”

In January, the park began work on the application to the International Dark Sky Association.

International Dark Sky Park certification promotes public education and astronomy-based recreation in parks, while improving energy efficiency and reduced operational costs through outdoor lighting upgrades that create economic opportunities for neighboring communities through astronomy-based tourism.

(5) comments

David Collins

First it was global cooling followed by global warming / climate change followed by sea level rise . Now , are we in danger of losing our sky at night so it needs preservation ? Where is it going to go ? Perhaps the Klingon Empire is going to make off with it , most likely The Borg . Better turn of the light at the lighthouse .

Am quite sure the Chamber is so excited they can’t sleep at night . Excited to be getting shed of ya . Now , will the Lookout folks actually allow the expected throngs of night visitors to access said seashore ? You know , crowd control and all that goes with such an attraction . What about the protected species being disturbed ? Transportation and parking could be an issue . What about the campers that just seek solitude and do not wish to be disturbed ? This crowd made the rounds of local municipalities and basically it was thank you but no thank you . The fact that they hit up government is not lost .


Partnership for what? Why is this news? Cape Lookout was an enjoyable experience until the park service got in the middle. I spent many enjoyab le visits with local volunteer guides that knew local history I am sure many of you what a great job they did. Now it is about tourism their money and the mess they leave behind.


noitall, I totally agree with you. One of the fondest memories we savor as a family was taking a ferry, and being met with a man who loaded us on the "Mule train". He was a retired History Professor who taught us about the old history of the area. The shells we came to see, became second to learning the sacrifices people made provide for their families, and local Beaufort history.

Also the locals would take us around in their flat bottom skiffs telling us tales, which we could barely understand, due to their Down East brogue. Those were great days!

Gary L Murphy

Been going to Core Banks for 70 years. Worst thing that ever happened was when government took it over and Park Service was put in charge. Remember - one of three worst things you can hear - I’m from the government and I’m here to help you.



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