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CYPRESS HILLS INTERPROVINCIAL PARK DESIGNATED AS A DARK SKY PRESERVE

Released on October 8, 2004

Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park is the first provincial park in both Saskatchewan and Alberta to be officially recognized as a Dark Sky Preserve. This designation acknowledges and protects the nocturnal environment, a part of the natural heritage of the provinces.

The declaration was made by the governments of Saskatchewan and Alberta, responsible for managing Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park, and by Fort Walsh National Historic Site of Canada, in partnership with the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (Calgary, Regina and Saskatoon Centres) at a recent Canadian Parks Council meeting held in the park.

Establishing Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park as a Dark Sky Preserve will be accomplished by using responsible lighting practices, including the use of fully-shielded luminaires, minimum light levels, energy-efficient lamps, aiming lights downward, and reducing lighting during night-time hours.

"We are pleased to participate in this designation with the Government of Alberta, Parks Canada and the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, which will help to ensure the protection of night-time darkness, an essential element of the ecosystem," Saskatchewan Environment Minister David Forbes said.

"Our continuing partnership with Saskatchewan and Fort Walsh will provide opportunities for the public to appreciate a starry sky, which is also an important aspect of our natural heritage, including the First Nations heritage surrounding constellations and related mythology," Minister of Alberta Community Development with responsibility for parks and protected areas Gene Zwozdesky said.

The designation will help to enhance visitors' appreciation of Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park with the night sky as part of the natural, historical and cultural experience. It will also provide opportunities for new interpretive and educational programs, attracting more visitors and adding economic benefits to the respective provincial and local tourism industries.

Saskatchewan and Alberta will both work toward expanding the Dark Sky Preserve program within their respective jurisdictions.

The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada is dedicated to the advancement of astronomy and allied sciences. The society has a membership of more than 4,700 professional and amateur astronomers from across Canada.

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For More Information, Contact:

Cheryl Robb
Alberta Community Development
Edmonton
Phone: (780) 427-6530
Michele McEachern
Environment
Regina
Phone: (306) 787-0412

Bob King
Royal Astronomical Society
Calgary
Phone: (403) 296-3512

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