ABERGYNOLWYN, WALES (4 December 2015) — Snowdonia National Park has been named an International Dark Sky Reserve by the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA). It is only the tenth Dark Sky Reserve ever named.
This designation is given by IDA to select destinations that have proven that the quality of their night sky is outstanding and real efforts are being made to reduce light pollution. Currently, International Dark Sky Reserves can be found in nine 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 territory receiving IDA status.
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 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 IDA 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 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 Geminids meteor shower 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.
Media inquiries: Ms. Llinos Angharad (SNPA Media and Events Officer); +44 01766 772237 or +44 07766 255509