Famed astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson said that the person who wants to feel like they are the center of everything “stands up shrinking,’’ when compared to the wonders of the Milky Way.
It’s estimated that 80 percent of Americans can’t see the Milky Way anymore – thanks in large part to pollution. The skies are so clouded now that most people live their entire lives without getting an untarnished look at the galaxy that Earth calls home.
For those who don’t want to be in that 80 percent (who does?), there’s the Central Idaho Dark Sky Reserve. An area spanning more than 1,400 square miles, it’s been designated as the nation’s first International Dark Sky Reserve – one of just 12 such reserves worldwide.
The Central Idaho Dark Sky Reserve represents the work and commitment by the cities of Ketchum, Sun Valley and Stanley, along with Blaine County, the Idaho Conservation League, businesses, private land owners and public land managers to protect and promote the region’s dark skies and remarkable stargazing opportunities.
The Reserve stretches from Ketchum/Sun Valley to Stanley, including lands in Blaine, Custer and Elmore Counties and the Sawtooth National Recreation Area. It is the third-largest International Dark Sky Reserve in the world.
Hotel Ketchum – in the heart of Idaho’s International Dark Skies Reserve – is helping shed light (pardon the pun) on this amazing spectacle by adhering to the local outdoor lighting ordinance, working with the Idaho Conservation League to promote educational events and supplying visitors with all the essentials for a beautiful night of stargazing.
“The night sky here is amazing,’’ said Hotel Ketchum General Manager Shannon Allen. “We’re a family-friendly resort, so it’s fun to see everyone here looking up at sky.’’
For travelers who want to wish to catch a glimpse of the Orionid meteor shower – the most prolific meteor shower associated with Halley’s Comet – that begins in earnest this weekend – the new, 58-room boutique hotel will offer visitors handouts for beginners covering the basics of astronomy and a Dark Sky midnight ‘munchies basket’’ filled with a variety of local edibles.
In a fully remodeled building, Hotel Ketchum is an authentic re-imagination of the perfect home-base for visitors who share a desire for inspired and immersive experiences and memories – or simply want to gaze at the wonders of the dark skies.
Feature Photo: Guy Oliver