What to Do
Dark Sky Preserve
Protecting and Preserving the Natural Darkness of the Prairie Sky
A Dark-Sky Preserve is a sanctuary from artificial light; the preserve is an area that maintains the nocturnal environment in as pristine a manner as possible.
Two of the many benefits include a better environment for nocturnal wildlife and a great place for stargazers to view the stars.
There is no lighting throughout most of the Cypress Hills Dark-Sky Preserve. Alberta and Saskatchewan have worked to reduce light pollution in Elkwater and the Core Area of Saskatchewan.
Why are we a Dark-Sky Preserve?
The Cypress Hills is a remarkable place to view the natural beauty of the starry sky. We are protecting and preserving the natural darkness to maintain the integrity of the dark night sky.
On September 28, 2004, a declaration was signed between the provinces of Saskatchewan and Alberta and the Government of Canada, in partnership with the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada to designate the Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park as a Dark-Sky Preserve.
Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park is the first park in Saskatchewan and Alberta to become fully recognized as a Dark-Sky Preserve in North America.
The Cypress Hills Dark-Sky Preserve is one of the darkest, easily accessible dark-sky preserves and one of the largest with 39,600 hectares protected - that's 97,850 football fields!
Saskatchewan Summer Star Party
Every August, stargazers gather in Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park (Saskatchewan) for the Summer Star Party.
Telescopes are set up and members of astronomical societies come from all over to scan the best dark skies in North America, share their knowledge and create one of the largest gatherings of stargazers in Canada.
Check out the special events schedule to learn when you can join them for public stargazing activities and star party events throughout the day/evening. Be sure to come out and take advantage of this opportunity to learn from both experts and enthusiasts!
Comet Discovered from Canada!
For an amateur astronomer finding a comet is like hitting a grand slam home run at the World Series. On August 18, 2001, Vance Petriew hit his grand slam.
Officially designated as Comet Petriew (P/2001 Q2) after its discoverer, Vance's discovery took place in the Cypress Hills at the Summer Star Party.
Cypress Hills Saskatchewan opened their doors in August 2011 to an observatory. The observatory includes a Dome Observatory with a 60 seat Yurt classroom and outside telescope platforms. There are three telescopes: a 14 inch Celestron in the observatory donated by The Friends of Cypress Hills Inc. and two portable Dobsonian telescopes (10" and 12"). Current programming includes astronomy education programs, private and group bookings and an Astronomer-in-Residence program.