Lightscape / Night Sky

Hundreds of white dots against a black background with two thick irregularly-shaped white lines running vertically just left of center.
The Milky Way.

Pollution of dark night skies with artificial light is a problem in much of the world. We have only begun to explore its ecological effects, such as impacts on migrating birds, turtles, and other species, as well as possible impacts on predator processes and plant dynamics whose phenology depends on day length.

National parks represent some of the last opportunities to protect nighttime darkness. We can often identify specific sources of light pollution outside of park boundaries, and work with our neighbors to modify them. We also need to identify sources of light pollution generated by the National Park Service within parks and take steps to ensure that our lighting systems in parking lots, maintenance yards, and other facilities are properly designed.

California's first Dark Sky Reserve?

In 2021, Point Reyes National Seashore—collaborating with the Point Reyes Station Village Association, Marin County Supervisor Dennis Rodoni, and the communities surrounding the park—began the effort to become an International Dark Sky Reserve. Learn more at Dark Sky Point Reyes.


"Saving the Night Sky: Can a California Community Prevent Light Pollution?," by Josh Riedel, Esquire, August 10, 2023.

Point Reyes Residents Push for Darker Skies. KQED's Forum. September 14, 2023.

"The Growing Effects of Light Pollution on Migratory Birds," by Amy Fraenkel, UN Chronicle, October 6, 2022.

Learn more about the night sky at national parks.

Park Science

Marech, R. 2023. Reaching for the Sky. National Parks 97(2): 30–38. Available at (accessed 6 April 2023).

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Learn More about the Importance of Dark Night Skies

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    Science & Research Project Summaries

    From 2006 to 2018, Point Reyes National Seashore and Pacific Coast Science and Learning Center (PCSLC) staff and communication interns assisted scientists conducting research through the PCSLC and the San Francisco Bay Area Inventory & Monitoring Network to produce a series of Resource Project Summaries, one of which was about the night sky and lightscapes at Point Reyes. These one- to eight-page summaries provide information about the questions that the researchers hoped to answer, details about the project and methods, and the results of the research projects in a way that is easy to understand.

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    Last updated: March 8, 2024

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    Mailing Address:

    1 Bear Valley Road
    Point Reyes Station, CA 94956


    This number will initially be answered by an automated attendant, from which one can opt to access a name directory, listen to recorded information about the park (e.g., directions to the park; visitor center hours of operation; fire danger information; wildlife updates; ranger-led programs; seasonal events; etc.), or speak with a ranger. Please note that if you are calling between 4:30 pm and 10 am, park staff may not be available to answer your call.

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