Application and CGOL

Application Requirements and the

Canadian Guidelines for Outdoor Lighting (CGOL)

On March 30, 2008, the RASC adopted a Dark-Sky Program that includes Dark-Sky Preserves (DSP), Urban Star Parks (USP) and Nocturnal Preserves (NP).  These three designations reflect the benefit for outreach programs of readily accessible sites within or near urban areas and more remote dark sites for observing the pristine sky. All three designations require compliance to the CGOL and its contents have been used as a guide by Parks Canada for sites that were interested in an RASC designation.

The key components of the RASC Dark-Sky Site Program are:

  • demonstrating good nighttime lighting practices (adhering to the CGOL)
  • providing outreach aimed at the general public and neighbouring municipalities

The CGOL defines the attributes of Low-Impact Lighting. They suggest design solutions that will enable the restriction of lighting within the protected sites. Although we do not propose a prohibition on light, this program does require that any light must be justified on a case-by-case basis. Thus, a pristine area should remain without artificial lighting and illuminated areas should have minimal impact on the ecology and visibility of the night sky in the area. This is significantly different from rationalizing the reduction of illumination levels from generally urban levels.

As detailed in the application document, local sponsorship is required to document the proposed site and to assist park managers and their staff with astronomy and outreach programs related to light-pollution abatement. The benefit for a local sponsoring group is the long-term protection of their observing site and assistance in the promotion of astronomy. An additional spin-off is better public and political understanding of the problems of light pollution and the benefits in its reduction. This lasting legacy is perhaps the most important benefit of this program.

Both the application document and CGOL are attached at the bottom of this page.

Glare vs Sky Glow

A USP with Controlled Lighting                        A Dark Site with No Control of Lighting

The RASC's Light-Pollution Abatement Committee encourages groups or individuals to seek out dark sites suitable for observational astronomy or local urban areas that can be used for public star nights which may be appropriate for a Dark-Sky Site designation.  These properties may be any defined area under the control of a management group, such as federal or provincial parks or private parks and campgrounds. For enquiries regarding becoming a designated Dark-Sky Site, please contact the RASC National Office or the Light-Pollution Abatement Committee.

Images © R.Dick, used with permission

Last modified: 
Tuesday, April 20, 2021 - 11:21am