Stars Over Glacier National Park, Dr. Tyler Nordgren photos

Of all the resources people encounter while exploring our national parks, perhaps the most overlooked is the night sky. Natural lightscape is a term used to describe resources and values that exist in the absence of human-caused light at night. Natural darkness and star-filled night skies are components of natural lightscapes that the National Park Service is dedicated to protecting and sharing through their Night Skies Program. Not only are natural lightscapes critical to humans for nighttime scenery and health benefits, but numerous wildlife species rely on natural patterns of light and dark for navigation, to cue behaviors, or to hide from predators or prey.

Home to some of the darkest skies in the world, Glacier National Park and Waterton Lakes National Park have initiated a joint effort to create the first cross-boundary designation as an International Dark-Sky Association Preserve.

Recent Night Sky Program events have been held at both Glacier and Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument. Through education, research, and monitoring, the National Park Service will continue to work to preserve the natural lightscapes of parks so that park visitors, today and in the future, may enjoy this vanishing resource.