The world famous Niagara Falls will be dark from 8:30 until 9:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 26, in honor of Earth Hour, a global initiative aimed at drawing attention to the issue of climate change. The event urges the turning off all non-essential light by individuals, businesses and organizations around the world.
Niagara Falls will be joined in supporting this program by other landmarks around the nation and the world, including Mount Rushmore, The Queen Mary, the Empire State Building, the Golden Gate Bridge, The Eiffel Tower, Sydney's Opera House and the Great Pyramids of Gaza. 2011 marks the fourth year of this event and, in 2010, a record 128 countries and territories, nearly 80 million people in the U.S. and nearly a billion around the world, turned off their lights for an hour to recognize this event.
"Participating in Earth Hour is a tangible way that we can all take an hour and think about what we can do in our own lives to become better stewards of our planet," said New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Commissioner Rose Harvey.
The lighting of the falls was first attempted more than 140 years ago, in 1860, to celebrate a visit by England's Prince of Wales. The falls are now illuminated nightly until 10 p.m. January through April, and until midnight the rest of the year. In recent years, the only occasion the falls were in darkness was for a few evenings in August 2003 when the lights were turned off to support recovery efforts during a major North American blackout.