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International Dark Sky Reserves

An IDA International Dark Sky Reserve is a public or private land possessing an exceptional or distinguished quality of starry nights and nocturnal environment that is specifically protected for its scientific, natural, educational, cultural, heritage and/or public enjoyment. Reserves consist of a core area meeting minimum criteria for sky quality and natural darkness, and a peripheral area that supports dark sky preservation in the core. Reserves are formed through a partnership of multiple land managers who have recognized the value of the natural nighttime environment through regulations and long-term planning.

Certified IDA International Dark Sky Reserves

Certify an International Dark Sky Reserve

IDA certifies International Dark Sky Places following a rigorous application process requiring applicants to demonstrate robust community support for dark sky protection and document category-specific program requirements. Learn more and start the process here.

Download the current International Dark Sky Reserve Guidelines

2018 International Dark Sky Reserve Guidelines (PDF)
Reserve (IDSR) Applicant Self-Checklist (May 2023)

Submission and Review Process

Dark Sky Reserve applications are reviewed on a rolling basis and in the order they are received. When the applicant completes a draft application, they will need to email a single PDF document to the Director of Conservation with the name of the site and certification category in the subject line. Staff will reach out to the applicant with further instructions and guidance to craft a complete and thorough application. Once IDA Staff deems the application complete, it will be provided with a batch of other completed nominations to the Dark Sky Places Committee (DSPC) for consideration.

Resources for applicants

Sample Lighting Management Plan (PDF)
Royal Astronomical Society of Canada Guidelines for Outdoor Lighting (PDF)
How to conduct a night sky quality survey

For current International Dark Sky Reserves

Writing Dark Sky Reserve Annual Reports