Dark Sky Park
208 N. Maiden Street
Wartburg, TN 37887
Obed Wild and Scenic River consists of about 2,020 hectares of land within roughly 400 meters on either side of the Obed River in Tennessee, U.S. The Obed drains a part of the Cumberland Plateau, a set of dissected plateau lands lying west of the main Appalachian Mountains. The Wild and Scenic River portion of its flow begins at State Route 298 (Genesis Road) and continues for 72 kilometers to the river’s mouth. Kayaking, canoeing, and rafting are popular seasonal activities on the Obed, which includes whitewater runs that ranging in difficult from Class II to Class IV. The Park protects one of the last free-flowing wild river systems in the eastern U.S., along with significant biodiversity and recreational opportunities.
The Park’s situation in a very rural part of eastern Tennessee has helped to preserve the Obed in conditions not unlike those encountered by the first European settlers in the 18th century. As the topography of the land discourages industrial development, there are no large cities in the area and few significant sources of light. As a result, sky quality over the Obed remains very good, and there are only limited threats to the integrity of those conditions. The management of the Park take the conservation natural darkness seriously; not only is there no permanent outdoor lighting in the park now, but the Park management has also agreed to a total prohibition on any future installations of lighting in order to help keep the course of the river dark at night.
Click here to find ideal environmental conditions for viewing the night sky at Obed Wild and Scenic River (36.0892, -84.92806). Don’t forget to plan your trip during the new moon and astronomical twilight to enhance the viewing experience!