The International Dark Sky Association (IDA) has designated a 1,400 square mile area in central Idaho as the nation’s first International Dark Sky Reserve.
The reserve stretches from Ketchum and Sun Valley to Stanley and includes lands in Blaine, Custer, and Elmore Counties as well as the Sawtooth National Recreation Area. It is one of 12 such reserves in the world and the third largest reserve on the planet.
Stanley Mayor Steve Botti said the reserve was created not just for locals, but for all Idahoans and visitors from across the world.
“The importance of today’s achievement to the dark-skies movement in the United States cannot be understated,” IDA Executive Director J. Scott Feierabend said. “Given the complexity of International Dark Sky Reserve nominations and the rigor of the protections that IDA requires for this honor, this is certainly a watershed moment in the history of American conservation.”
IDA’s Reserve designation requires public and private lands to possess an exceptional or distinguished quality of night sky, view of the stars and nocturnal environment. Reserves can only be formed through partnerships of multiple land managers who have recognized the value of quality nighttime environment through regulation and long-term planning.
The Idaho Reserve has obtained commitments from the cities of Ketchum, Sun Valley, and Stanley, Blaine County, the Idaho Conservation League and other private and public land managers.