The term “valuable natural resource” immediately recalls a particular clutch of sacred commodities that support the wellbeing of humans and our environment: drinkable water, healthy forests, clean air. But while less avidly protected by environmental initiatives, darkness, too, is a natural resource, and one which, according to the Arizona-based International Dark-Sky Association, is direly endangered. Light pollution negatively affects nocturnal animals, from baby turtles to migrating birds, augmenting their behavioural patterns. (It also inhibits the production of melatonin, a restorative hormone, in humans.) And it’s not an isolated issue; light pollution spreads, travelling as far as 322 kilometres from its origin. In order to stem the depletion of darkness, an increasing number of natural sites are being designated as international dark-sky sanctuaries. As a result, the prospects of astro-tourism, a burgeoning industry which melds scenic beauty, education, and often luxurious accommodations, are looking up. And for good reason: astro-tourism, remote by nature, provides travellers with what they cannot find at home. On an average, clear night, a city dweller may see 500 stars, while some 15,000 visibly speckle a truly dark sky. Here, a selection of eight celestial luxury travel destinations, in Canada and far beyond, from where to delight in seeing stars (and more).
Originally published August 9, 2016.
Photos courtesy of Booking.com.