Rangeley is Seeking a Dark Sky Community Certification

April 18, 2023

Rangeley Lakes Heritage Trust is behind a community-driven movement to conserve Rangeley's night sky. Rangeley lies in Maine's Western Mountains, surrounded by 200,000 acres of conserved lands. Vast swaths of uninhabited forest stretch from Madrid Township to the New Hampshire border and extend north to the Canadian border, making our region one of the darkest places left on the East Coast. It's identified as a globally critical habitat due to habitat continuity and connectivity. 

Enjoy a timelapse of the night sky at Height of Land on the Rangeley Lakes National Scenic Byway

Coordinating the Dark Sky Community (DSC) certification effort is Linda Dexter. Dexter is a board member of RLHT and is well-known in the community. Dark Sky International (DSI) oversees the application process, which is unique for each project. 


RLHT has been working with the Town of Rangeley to adapt the lighting ordinance to meet the Dark Sky parameters.  This June, Rangeley residents will vote on Chapter 38, which includes lighting codes to ensure Rangeley receives DSC. 


“The need to protect our night sky cannot be overemphasized. We live in a special place where we get to see stars that most of the world’s population cannot,” states Dexter. “We could lose that privilege if we don’t put protections in place now.”

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Being designated as a DSC will draw additional attention to the resources in Western and Northern Maine and how rare these resources are, reinforcing the eco-tourism aspect of Rangeley’s economy. In 2021, the Appalachian Mountain Club’s Maine Woods became New England’s first International Dark Sky Park. Nearby Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument was designated an International Dark Sky Sanctuary in 2020. Acadia National Park has begun the certification process for a Dark Sky Park., but the municipality of The Town of Rangeley could likely be the third Dark Sky International certified area in Maine. 

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We need your help! Here’s an overview of how to get involved. 

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Linda Dexter

Linda Dexter

Dark Sky Community Certification Coordinator

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