Skyline Drive Status
Winter Weather is in the forecast so please check before coming. For the most current Skyline Drive Status, call 540-999-3500, choose Option 1, and then Option 1. You can also use Facebook and Twitter for updates. More »
Night Closures of Skyline Drive
Portions of Skyline Drive will be closed at night (5:00 p.m. - 8:00 a.m.) during hunting season. Starting November 11 the north and south sections will be closed at night. The entire Drive will be closed at night starting December 9. More »
Unnatural Night Light
(NASA Earth Observatory)
Unfortunately the quality of the night sky (its relative darkness) is under siege. The proliferation of development and associated installation of lights, without thought to the impact those lights have on the night sky is ongoing. Lighting associated with advertising, building and street illumination, and grounds security all contribute to what is referred to as “light pollution”. One estimate indicates that about 30% of all light generated in the
In addition to interfering with our ability to see celestial bodies and astronomical events, light pollution has a detrimental environmental impact. Some bird species depend on stars for navigation. Light pollution interferes with their travels. Some believe that declines in moth populations are linked to attraction to lights and subsequent death.
The National Park Service is concerned about our contribution to light pollution and has set policy that seeks to reduce or eliminate the adverse impacts of light pollution. At Shenandoah, park staff members are working in cooperation with park concessionaire staff to reduce in-park light pollution. Shields have been installed on a light fixture at the Big Meadows Wayside and additional work will be done on area and walkway lights under the auspices of the Concessionaire’s Capital Improvement Program. Since 2000, volunteers and concessionaire employees have hosted night skies programs in the Big Meadows area.
Useful references on the topic of light pollution and National Parks are:
Albers, S. and D. Duriscoe. 2001. Modeling Light Pollution from Population Data and Implications for National Park Service Lands. In George Wright Forum, Vol 18, No. 4 pp. 56-68.
Duriscoe, D.. 2001. Preserving Pristine Night Skies in National Parks and the Wilderness Ethic. In George Wright Forum, Vol. 18 No. 4 pp. 30 – 36.
Harder, B. 2004. Degraded Darkness. In Conservation in Practice, Vol. 5 No. 2 pp. 21 – 27.
The following organization will be of interest to those concerned about light pollution:
Listing of this website does not and is not intended to imply endorsement by the National Park Service of commercial services or products associated with the site.
Did You Know?
Shenandoah National Park is an outdoor laboratory that helps scientists study the effects of our activities on the environment. To learn more, click on Science and Nature. More...