Dark Sky Reserve
Mont-Mégantic, the world’s first International Dark Sky Reserve, encompasses the regional county municipalities of Granit and Haut-Saint-François and of the city of Sherbrooke, as well as Mont-Mégantic National Park, its famous observatory and a unique visitor center. The process that led to the IDA designation contributed to the development of a new regional expertise in outdoor lighting management. As a result, the reserve’s 34 municipalities developed outdoor lighting regulations that have contributed to the control and limited growth of area light pollution, which had doubled during the preceding 20 years. Approximately 2,500 light fixtures were replaced, resulting in a 25 percent reduction of area light pollution and a reduction in energy consumption of some 1.3 gigawatt-hours per year. The project is a model for many industrialized countries seeking a compromise between outdoor lighting needs and general concerns about energy efficiency and preservation of the natural nighttime environment.