Between Moosehead Lake and Baxter State Park lies some of the best stargazing in New England.

 

According to Maine Public Radio, the Appalachian Mountain Club's Maine Woods property in the 100-Mile Wilderness, has been designated as the first International Dark Sky Park in New England.  They are hoping and expecting a lot of astronomy-based tourism and more conservation in one of the darkest night skies in the eastern half of the country.

What certifies this area in Maine as an International Dark Sky Park?

This conservation land had to have very starry nights. Or basically in the middle of nowhere and protective of animal species. These 75,000 forested acres are also climate resilient. It may seem like a simple thing, darkness - but it's harder and harder to find an area with no light pollution.

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What does the International Dark Sky Park include?

If you've traveled Maine, you are probably thinking - this can't be the only dark place in Maine. It's not, but it is the most developed area with dark skies so you can fully take advantage of its beauty. The AMC Dark Sky Park includes three wilderness lodges; nearly 130 miles of hiking, cycling, and Nordic skiing trails, and areas for paddling and fishing.

Is the Dark Sky Park threatened...by light?

This newly designated park is a great chance to protect animals and support new tourism - but the Maine North Woods is always threatened. The AMC Director of Maine Conservation and Dark Sky Park Superintendent, Steve Tatko, says that it's on the edge of development...the ultimate threat of the dark night sky. He hopes by designating the area a Dark Sky Park, we can all preserve the night sky. Look for events in the fall!

LOOK: Stunning vintage photos capture the beauty of America's national parks

Today these parks are located throughout the country in 25 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The land encompassing them was either purchased or donated, though much of it had been inhabited by native people for thousands of years before the founding of the United States. These areas are protected and revered as educational resources about the natural world, and as spaces for exploration.

Keep scrolling for 50 vintage photos that show the beauty of America's national parks.

LOOK: Here are the 50 best beach towns in America

Every beach town has its share of pluses and minuses, which got us thinking about what makes a beach town the best one to live in. To find out, Stacker consulted data from WalletHub, released June 17, 2020, that compares U.S. beach towns. Ratings are based on six categories: affordability, weather, safety, economy, education and health, and quality of life. The cities ranged in population from 10,000 to 150,000, but they had to have at least one local beach listed on TripAdvisor. Read the full methodology here. From those rankings, we selected the top 50. Readers who live in California and Florida will be unsurprised to learn that many of towns featured here are in one of those two states.

Keep reading to see if your favorite beach town made the cut.