DULUTH, MN -- After a dozen years of discussions, the entirety of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wildnerness is now a certified International Dark Sky Sanctuary.
The designation makes the BWCAW the first-certified Minnesotan site and first federally designated wilderness site.
The BWCAW is only the 13th location in the world to gain this unique title and at 1,098,000 acres in size, it will be the largest.
“We are excited to receive the Dark Skies Sanctuary designation for the BWCAW and are committed to preserving dark sky opportunities for future generations." said Connie Cummins, Superior National Forest Supervisor.
The International Dark Sky Association is a non-profit organization founded in 1988 with the goal of reducing light pollution and protecting night skies for the present and into the future.
A Dark Sky Sanctuary is “public or private land that has an exceptional or distinguished quality of starry nights and a nocturnal environment that is protected for its scientific, natural, or educational value, its cultural heritage and/or public enjoyment.”
According to a 2016 National Geographic article, 80 percent of Americans cannot view the Milky Way anymore due to light pollution.