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.