Trout Point Lodge of Nova Scotia will be the world's first certified Starlight Hotel, a distinction given by the Starlight Foundation headquartered at the Canaries Astrophysics Institute in Spain. The Starlight Initiative is backed by UNESCO, the International Astronomical Union, and other international organizations.
"We believe it is fair to give special consideration," wrote Foundation Managing Director Luis Martinez, to "establishments whose owners have been pioneers in promoting a Starlight Destination in their area."
Located in a particularly dark night-time zone of southwest Nova Scotia, Trout Point has developed astro-tourism offerings, including having a permanent astronomer on staff, over the past four years. This year the Lodge added a 16'x16' star gazing platform and new telescopes, including a solar telescope for daytime use. The Lodge lies adjacent to the vast Tobeatic Wilderness Area at the confluence of the Tusket and Napier Rivers.
To be certified as a Starlight Hotel, Trout Point had to submit an extensive application and data on sky quality.
Lodge proprietors Vaughan Perret and Charles Leary have spearheaded the effort by a local non-profit society to have the region surrounding Trout Point declared a Starlight Reserve and Tourism Destination. This included visiting the Canary Islands to view best practices and meet with Foundation officials. Last year, the Lodge's astronomer took the numerous scientific measurements of sky quality necessary to achieve regional certification. The application was done by La Société Touristique Bon Temps d'Argyle, of which Perret is the Chairman.
The Lodge has hosted numerous guests anxious to get a glimpse of unpolluted night time skies filled with stars, an increasingly rare possibility in most urban areas.
Martinez said: "The Foundation aims to bring Rural Hotels and Houses into the movement for 'Astronomical Tourism' as an efficient way of spreading the joys of contemplating the starry skies among the customers and to encourage them to learn more about the marvels and mysteries of the Universe. This is why we attach so much importance to building a network of establishments which are qualified and accredited as 'Starlight Rural Hotels and Houses', beginning with the most representative."
Perret and Leary have worked tirelessly to gain support for the project from the Nova Scotia Tourism Agency, the Southwest Nova Tourism Task Team, the Nova Scotia Department of Environment, Acadia First Nation, and the Municipalities of Argyle, Clare, and Yarmouth.
This region of Nova Scotia has a pronounced lack of light pollution, lending it some of the darkest and clearest skies for astronomical observation in North America.
About Trout Point Lodge & The Starlight Foundation
Founded in 2000, Trout Point Lodge lies immediately adjacent to the Tobeatic Wilderness Area. Rated 5 stars by Canada Select, the Lodge is also a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World. The web site is www.troutpoint.com.
The Starlight Foundation is the body in charge of the operational management of the Starlight Initiative, providing human resources and means for its development and promotion. The Starlight Initiative was launched in 2007 from a proposal of the IAC supported by UNESCO - MaB Programme, UNWTO, IAU, and other international conventions such as UNEP-CMS, SCBD, and Ramsar Convention, and is designed as an international action in defense of the values associated with the night sky and the general right to observe the stars.
The final aim of this Initiative is to promote the importance of clear skies for the humankind, emphasizing and introducing the value of this endangered heritage for science, education, culture, technological development, nature conservation, and tourism. The web site is www.fundacionstarlight.com.