Wood Buffalo National Park has a unique claim to fame: it’s the largest Dark Sky Preserve in the world. The title means the park has minimal lighting, often using amber or red lights in places where light is needed most, like parking lots and bathrooms. As a result, the night sky and aurora borealis displays are incredible.
The low light also has ecological benefits. White or blue light at night can affect animals, insects and plants’ perception of day and night and changing seasons. Keeping little to no light on in the park ensures nocturnal creatures get the darkness they need for a properly set internal clock.
Here are some great ways you can check out Fort Smith's Northern Night Sky:
Land & Sky Tour :
Watch the most northerly colony of nesting white pelicans feeding in the Slave River. Listen to the stories of an elder and learn to play Indigenous Dene games. Walk barefoot on the Salt Plains in Wood Buffalo National Park.
Then take to the skies for a 20-minute flightseeing tour. See homemade rockets streak into the sky, tour the new Fort Smith Observatory, and participate in evening workshops with guest speakers during the Thebacha & Wood Buffalo Dark Sky Festival. This northern celebration of space and science for novice stargazers and seasoned astronomers is held in the world’s largest Dark Sky Preserve. Join us for a Journey through Land & Sky during a tour of Fort Smith and Wood Buffalo National Park August 17 - 20, 2017.
For detailed information go to: Land & Sky Tour - Wood Buffalo National Park.
Thebacha and Wood Buffalo Dark Sky Festival:
The Annual Dark Sky Festival is a celebration of the return of dark skies to our northern latitude (60°N). The festival activities take place in Fort Smith, NWT and in the world's largest Dark Sky Preserve, Wood Buffalo National Park. This festival runs on the third week of August, often with acitivites, seminars, and viewing sessions both in the town of Fort Smith and at Wood Buffalo National Park.
For more information go to: Thebacha and Wood Buffalo Dark Sky Festival
Click here for more information about: Wood Buffalo National Park
Click here for more information about camping in the area: Camping and Side Trips