Stargazing Spotlight: Cherry Springs State Park

A remote and wild state park sits high atop a mountain in Pennsylvania as one of the best places on the eastern seaboard for stargazing and astronomy enthusiasts. Cherry Springs State Park named for it's large stands of black cherry trees, is an 82-acre state park surrounded by the 262,000-acre Susquehannock State Forest.  

[Flickr/Jessie Hodge]

Cherry Springs attracts those interested in observing the night sky, whether it be with the naked eye, a set of binoculars, or a telescope, gazing up at the stars brings an entirely new meaning. The park prides itself in its exceptionally dark skies and efforts to prevent light pollution. Because of these efforts, Cherry Springs was designated as a Gold Level International Dark Sky Park, the highest designation given to a dark sky site by the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA). The designations serve as reminders to other parks, communities, and reserves that with the dark night sky can still reach it's full potential with the careful consideration of quality outdoor lighting. The night sky is as important to our ecosystem as the daylight. And preventing light pollution should be as much of a concern as preventing trash pollution. So while white light is permitted at the park, Cherry Springs suggests you use a red filter, to preserve your night vision as well as perfect dark sky.

The park offers many activities to the public. In 2002, they began the Stars-N-Parks Program which provides free astronomy programming. They also offer free events every Saturday, from The Andromeda Drama to Lunar Viewings to Autumn Constellations. Visit the park website for more information on Cherry Springs, and make sure to catch a clear night sky at it's finest sometime soon.

Take a hike towards the stars, click here for the 10 best trails for stargazing.