Idaho's Dark Sky Reserve Under Threat Of Light Pollution

Dec 20, 2019

There are 15 certified dark sky reserves in the world, with the third-largest being right here in Idaho. These designated areas have little to no light pollution, making it easy to see a lot of stars. However, the area here is being threatened by growing light pollution.


Michael Marlin has been a dark sky reserve advocate for more than 20 years. He joined Idaho Matters this week to discuss the threats to the dark sky reserve.

He says with Boise’s exponential growth, light pollution has become a problem even all the way in Stanley.

"You can already see the glow of Boise on the horizon," said Marlin.

He says that preserving the dark skies is important for regulating circadian rhythms, which are animals’ daily biological clock. He also says excess light can affect the patterns of migratory birds and night pollinators.

While Marlin emphasizes the importance of dark sky preservation for our health and for the planet, he also notes this could threaten astro tourism, which is booming as the world’s dark places become fewer and farther between.

“Idaho is sitting under a gold mine," he said. 

According to Marlin, that light pollution can be combated by turning off unnecessary lamps, changing to lightbulbs that emit a yellow toned light, and fully shading lights to prevent the glow from escaping into the sky. 

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