International Dark Sky Week is held during the week of the new moon in April (April 15-22, 2023), when people worldwide observe the beauty of the night sky without light pollution… and there’s truly no better place to celebrate than the Pennsylvania Wilds.
A dark night sky is a mystical natural resource that is worthy of protection just like plants, waterways and wildlife.
In fact, we think that our dark skies in the PA Wilds are so important that we even named one of our five PA Wilds landscapes after it: Dark Skies.
The PA Wilds uses these landscape names to help travelers find the experiences they crave the most. In the Dark Skies landscape (which includes Potter, Tioga, Cameron and parts of Clinton County), professional astronomers and novice stargazers alike can enjoy the beauty of our perfect velvet sky.
Inspiring awe and delight, Dark Skies is home to the world’s second certified International Dark Sky Park: Cherry Springs State Park.
Named The Most Beautiful Spot in Every U.S. State for Pennsylvania by MSN Travel in 2017: “Cherry Springs is possibly the best spot for stargazing in all of the U.S. On a given night, 10,000 stars are visible to the naked eye.” See the stars like you’ve never seen them before, with an unforgettable visit to Cherry Springs State Park! Honored with the 2017 PA Wild’s “Great Places Award,” the park’s incredible, awe-inspiring dark skies attract a high volume of astronomers and stargazers for views of the Milky Way, planets, and hard-to-see astronomical objects and phenomena.
Check out these products that will help you celebrate the fantastic Dark Skies in the PA Wilds!
Cherry Springs, Milkyway & Astrodomes Canvas - Photos by Curt Weinhold
Photographer Curt Weinhold says spending time outdoors photographing the starry sky, waterfalls, wildflowers & beautiful landscapes has always been a pleasure. Curt has always loved the outdoors and moved to Potter County in 1973 from Lancaster County where he grew up. In addiiton to Curt's "day job", he would photograph weddings and portraits, but it was nature that held his greater interest. Now in retirement, it's all about seeing the landscaps through a camera.
Curt has traveled from Alaska to Arizona and Hawaii to Switzerland, but what does he love best? The PA Wilds!
Ladies Star Shirt - PA Wilds Conservation Shop
The PA Wilds is known for its dark skies. The Milky Way is visible on clear nights in many places around the region, and thousands of visitors flock each year to Cherry Springs State Park, a certified International Dark Skies park, where the night sky is exceptionally dark. This popular shirt, designed by a local Juried Artisan in The Wilds Cooperative of PA (Andrea Lanich of The Laughing Owl Press Co.), shows a couple with a telescope gazing at the night sky. If you, or someone you know, enjoys laying under the night sky and gazing up at the stars, this is a great shirt for you.
Beeswax Honey Lotion - Rich Valley Apiary
Preserving and respecting our dark skies means less interference with wildlife. Birds, bats, insects and other animals can lose their sense of direction or hunting space when these dark places disappear.
Although bees don't travel at night, the honeybees that helped to make this beeswax honey lotion live under the vast Dark Skies landscape in the PA Wilds! Rich Valley Apiary, located in Emporium in Cameron County, is home to velvety night skies. Ryan and Brandi Magaro, owners of Rich Valley Apiary, are proud to live in such a beautiful area.
Cherry Springs State Park Postcard - PA Wilds Conservation Shop
Possibly the best spot for stargazing in all of the U.S., Cherry Springs State Park's incredible, awe-inspiring dark skies attract a high volume of astronomers and stargazers for views of the Milky Way, planets, and hard-to-see astronomical objects and phenomena. Get this postcard to capture an image reminiscent of your visit to this park.
Eucalyptus Mint Soap - Nonni & Papa Joe's Homestead
Another PA Wilds Maker that works in the Dark Skies landscape is Nonni & Papa's Homestead, offering many scents of luxurious soaps. Located in Potter County, they Julie and Joe operate a family-owned business and are passionate about creating natural product that are made with herbs and essential oils. Eucalyptus and Spearmint oils meld together to uplift and refresh you while also providing a moisturizing treat for your skin! Not a fan of this particular scent? Check out Nonni & Papa Joe's storefront for more options.
PA Maple Syrup - Patterson Farms
Maple trees stand tall in the PA Wilds Dark Skies landscape, and the trees on Patterson farms in Westfield (Tioga County) serve a delicious purpose... helping to make maple products! Patterson Farm has been in the family since 1920. Currently the 4th generation lives and works on the farm. They are are the largest family owned maple business in Pennsylvania with around 83,000 taps. Patterson Farms makes all their products daily, in house. Taking a visit to the Dark Skies region? Patterson Farms also offers tours at the facility of the equipment and their family history daily.
Small Town Night Club Shirt - PA Made LLC
What's better than the bright lights and loud noises in a crowded city nightclub? A small town nightclub, of course... your very own private light-show of fireflies, campfires and pretty stars. The best conversations are always had while laying under the stars with your friends, warming yourselves by the fire and listening to the crickets. This t-shirt highlights the beauty of the more relaxed pace of the PA Wilds. bring this shirt with you the next time you go stargazing.