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Thread: Katahdin Woods and Waters declared a Dark Sky Sanctuary

  1. #1
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    Katahdin Woods and Waters declared a Dark Sky Sanctuary

    https://bangordailynews.com/2020/05/...sky-sanctuary/

    Arguably the areas west and north of the park are even darker as they do not have the town of Patten Maine and the development along RT 11 nearby. Even with that, to someone from most of the East coast its going to be a darker night sky at KWW then they have ever have seen.

    KWW has been searching to differentiate itself from the rest of Maine Woods. Despite a lot of of national press and active regional media partners generating articles it doesn't seem to have become a must see regional or national attraction. The state of Maine is finally installing signage on the Interstate to acknowledge its existence. It has got some positive press as a good place for wildlife viewing. Unlike the far more mature forests in BSP, KWW still has a lot of regenerating forest left over from its logging days which tends to attract more wildlife. There was an initial uptick of real estate investment in the area when KWW was announced but that reportedly has slowed down.

    IMHO a commercial redevelopment of either one of the former Millinocket mills would have as large an impact of KWW has to date but time will tell.

    Given the early shutdown of the snowmobile season and the major delay in the summer season, I expect things will be pretty dire for the local tourists economies in the area this year.

  2. #2
    Moderator bikehikeskifish's Avatar
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    The darkest skies I have ever personally witnessed are

    1. Roaring Brook in winter
    2. Fishing in the canyons south of Martha's Vineyard (100+ miles from shore)

    Tim
    Bike, Hike, Ski, Sleep. Eat, Fish, Repeat.

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    Mine is probably Davis Pond in BSP. The only light in the Northwest Basin is what I brought with me. When Loring Air Force Base in Limestone was in operation there were more than a fair share of UFO reports from remote areas in the park as the bombers used the Maine Woods for night training. The locals knew about the base but to out of state visitors they thought it was close encounters of the third kind. Reports quieted down once Loring closed.

    Sadly my place in Gorham has lost some of its darkness since I have owned the place as the RT 16 corridor in Gorham gives a persistent glow to the Northeast. Gorham has a dark skies ordinance but not much enforcement. The obs on occasion displays shots to the north of auroras and the RT 16 strip and to lesser extent the RT3 strip in Lancaster have a distinct glow. The collision avoidance lights on the wind towers to the north do not help

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    I stayed one new-moon night at Nesowadnehunk Field in Baxter last summer and was shocked with how easily I could see the Milky Way without magnification. I've never experienced that before in other "remote" areas of New England.

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    Senior Member Tom Rankin's Avatar
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    Hawaii at 9000'. So many stars, I, (past president of an astronomy club), was confused as to what I was seeing!
    Tom Rankin
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    Senior Member Grey J's Avatar
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    The Warrumbungle Mountains in New South Wales Australia circa 1975. Although I don't remember the observatory, I do recall camping at the National Park. When we extinguished the campfire, it was what I would describe as "perfect darkness." I've never seen the sky look so full of stars and the Milky Way so obvious.

    We were on our way to the lyrically named outback town of Lightning Ridge where we bought opals directly from the miners. My traveling companion and former college roommate, Frank, met up with an Aboriginal woman at an outdoor party in town and disappeared into the night with her. He showed up in the morning somewhat dazed and confused. A 'coup de foudre'?

    http://tenbyobservatory.com/warrumbu...ht_sky_viewing
    "I am a pilgrim and a stranger"

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    This Link goes to dark sky finder ap https://darksitefinder.com/maps/worl...4/39.00/-98.00

    If you zoom in new England you will see that Northwest Maine is about as dark as its gets out East. Northern NH is still pretty dark north but even its degraded.
    Last edited by peakbagger; 05-11-2020 at 09:32 AM.

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    Moderator David Metsky's Avatar
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    Clinton Hut, Milford Track, NZ. Not only amazingly clear skies, but stars I'd never seen before.
    You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself, any direction you choose. -- Dr. Seuss

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    Quote Originally Posted by David Metsky View Post
    Clinton Hut, Milford Track, NZ. Not only amazingly clear skies, but stars I'd never seen before.
    I was going to mention the Milford but I went on the guided version and they kept the hut lights on fairly late while I think the self guided huts you went to didn't have power systems.
    Last edited by David Metsky; 05-12-2020 at 12:32 PM.

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    Senior Member B the Hiker's Avatar
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    I once sailed in a yacht race from Rhode Island to Bermuda. Once away from the coastline, one sees a sky full of stars from one horizon to the other. Breathtaking!

    Okay, I'll admit it. I once scheduled a moonlit hike under what I thought, looking at the calendar, was a full moon. It was a new moon! I got grief about that for years, but now I'm old enough to be able to laugh at myself about it.

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    Acadia National Park on top of Cadillac Mtn one cold Fall night. I was amazed there were so many stars. I could actually see the milky way, just like in the photos.

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    Senior Member Raven's Avatar
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    My darkest skies:

    1. Glacier National Park around 2008 when I had the opportunity to stay inside the park for a week. The Milky way was so clearly obvious.
    2. Hundred Mile Wilderness in Maine in 2000, I was treated to an outstanding aurora display.
    3. Northern BSP on a few camping trips.
    4. I grew up on the second highest hill in very rural Steuben County, NY. Nearest neighbor was over a half mile away buried in a cabin in the forest and only a couple people lived out near me. It's hills and hay and all sorts of darkness. No lights anywhere, not a town close by. I grew up seeing so many stars every clear night. I miss it.

    It's something every human should get to see. It's humbling and beautiful. Reminds me we're all just flickers of life flying through space on a speck of dust and not the center of the universe.
    Humankind has not woven the web of life.
    We are but one thread within it.
    Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves.
    All things are bound together.
    All things connect.
    ~ Chief Seattle, 1854 ~

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    North Cascades National Park about 30 years ago. Only time I've ever even caught a hint of an aurora.

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    If you haven’t already, when you’re in a dark sky location look for the Andromeda galaxy. Unlike other galaxies it has width. You can’t see the details (arms, etc.) but it is visible with the naked eye. It’s a pretty cool feature.
    It's a lot like fun, but different.

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    Senior Member Nessmuk's Avatar
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    I grew up outside of a very rural small town on the western edge of the Adirondacks. I remember extremely dark skies as a kid. So much so that I bought my first telescope at age 12, and went to college majoring in astronomy and physics at a large university on Long Island NY (yuck). But I had a university research job working for a well known planetary astronomer, and I also worked on measuring the age of Apollo moon rocks brought to earth, so the sacrifice of being at that city light polluted location was worth it. Whenever I would drive home, I usually arrived after dark, and I recall every time I exited the car in the driveway at home that my mouth would drop open as I looked up at the completely black sky with thousands of stars looking back at me.

    The Andromeda galaxy (M31) is quite easy to find with naked eyes in a dark sky (but never on Long Island). I have a set of easy to locate finder stars that point my gaze right to it every time.

    Later in life, as a research engineer with the Air Force, I was fortunate enough to work at and visit the large observatories and research facilities in the southwestern states. Most special was working for several years at the Air Force observatory on the 10,000 foot summit of Mount Haleakala in Maui, where I worked on the design of their largest new telescope.
    Last edited by Nessmuk; 05-12-2020 at 07:52 PM.
    "She's all my fancy painted her, she's lovely, she is light. She waltzes on the waves by day and rests with me at night." - Nessmuk, Forest and Stream, July 21, 1880 [of the Wood Drake Canoe built for him by Rushton]

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