Nova Scotia

Yarmouth business sees night sky as tourism opportunity

A resort owner in the Yarmouth area is hoping dark skies will be a bright spot in the tourism business.

Resort pushing for Starlight UNWTO designation in southwest Nova Scotia

A resort owner in the Yarmouth area is hoping dark skies will be a bright spot in the tourism business.

Charles Leary, who operates Trout Point Lodge, is in the Canary Islands this week pushing to get a designation as a future starlight reserve.

StarLight Tourism Certification is awarded by a branch of the United Nations World Tourism Organization. It determines which areas in the world are ideal for people who want to take a clear look at the stars

"There's actually dark sky mapping that's done," said Leary. "And when we're talking about dark skies, what we're really talking about is the absence of light pollution. It just so happens that our area lacks huge numbers of street lights or big industrial areas or huge towns where there would be lots of light pollution."

Leary envisions a boom in nighttime guided tours, where people can easily make out the constellations with the naked eye, or a set of binoculars.

"It turns something that might be considered a detriment - lack of development - into an asset and something that's beneficial for the local community," he said.

Leary said the area - primarily covering Clare, Argyle and a section of Yarmouth - has the darkest skies in North America.

His resort already has a resident astronomer who's been guiding tourists for the last two seasons. He said other lodges in the area could do the same with the help of the designation.

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