Dark Sky Park
17515 Hwy. 177
Fargo, GA 31631 USA
Stephen C. Foster State Park is a small (32-hectare; 80-acre) property in the vast 1,627 km2 (402,000-acre) expanse of the surrounding Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge of southeastern Georgia, U.S. The Refuge protects about 93% of the Okefenokee Swamp, the largest blackwater swamp in North America and one of Georgia’s “Seven Natural Wonders”. Due to this protected status, the Okefenokee remains one of the oldest and most well preserved freshwater areas in America. The Park’s situation in the rural American South, and within the surrounding National Wildlife Refuge, both isolates it from major metropolitan areas and affords a significant natural buffer against future development: besides the land’s protected status, the swamp environment tends to naturally repel settlement attempts. As a result, and with very little lighting on its property, Stephen C. Foster enjoys a degree of natural nighttime darkness almost without parallel in the eastern U.S.
The Park has developed an array of outreach and interpretive activities, nearly all of which involve or feature a message concerning the value and fragility of dark local night skies. Its Dark Sky Park designation will help raise the profile of this special place, affording an accessible, Gold-tier night sky experience to many tens of millions of people living in the region.