Dark Sky Travels with the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust
I just heard today that my grant application to the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust has been accepted, which means lots of traveling for me later this year!
I applied to the WCMT in late 2010 to visit all of the Dark Sky Places in North America. There are eight of them in total:
- Mont Megantic National Park near Montreal, Canada
- Cherry Springs State Park in Pennsylvania
- Geauga District Park in Ohio
- Goldendale Observatory Park in Washington state
- Natural Bridges National Monument in Utah
- Clayton Lake State Park in New Mexico
- Borrego Springs in California
- Flagstaff in Arizona
This first on the list, and the only one not in the USA is the world’s only Dark Sky Reserve, while the final two on the list are Dark Sky Communities. All the others are Dark Sky Parks.
I aim to spend around a week at each one, studying how they engage with local tourism to promote astronomy as a tourist attraction and thereby boost the economy around the Dark Sky Places. I’ll bring that knowledge back to the UK to help the existing (Galloway Forest Dark Sky Park, and Sark, the world’s first Dark Sky Island) and proposed (Exmoor, Peak District, Brecon Beacons, Loch Lomond and the Trossachs national parks, and Orkney) Dark Sky Places in the UK.
I’ll be going some time in either September or October 2011, and I’ll be blogging, tweeting and hopefully podcasting throughout my trip.
My thanks go to the WCMT who saw the value in what I proposed to do, and have given me this amazing opportunity!