• bible sitting next to a teapot

    Whitman Mission

    National Historic Site Washington

Lightscape / Night Sky

Photo of night sky.

The Big Dipper can easily be seen on clear nights.

NPS collection

The National Park Service considers the night sky an intrinsic resource that needs protection, just like clean air, clean water and natural quiet.

Whitman Mission is located in a rural area with relatively dark night skies. Although the park itself is closed at night, park staff have taken various measures to reduce light pollution caused by the park. Light shields are used to direct light down rather than up into the night sky. Recessed lights also reduce the amount of light that escapes upward. Timers and motion sensors ensure that the parking lot and building exterior are lit when necessary, but limit the total amount of time these lights are on.

Did You Know?

Brass compass which belonged to Dr. Whitman

In the fall of 1842 Dr. Whitman decided to travel from Waiilatpu to Boston. He wanted to convince the board members to keep his mission station open. Dr. Whitman was in such a hurry when he left that he forgot his compass.