Earth to Sky Park

Formerly called the EnergyXchange, the Mayland Earth to Sky Park is home to the Bare Dark Sky Observatory and the future home of a state-of-the-art planetarium, micro-propagation/aquaponics & hydroponics facility, visitors’ center, and garden trails.


The Earth to Sky Park will be a destination point for visitors who are interested in learning about the world we live in, from the earth to the sky. The centerpiece of the Park is the Bare Dark Sky Observatory, which provides a hands-on learning experience for Mayland students and is also open by reservation. Plans for a state-of-the-art planetarium are underway, which will serve as a further educational opportunity for visitors of all ages to learn about the night sky during daylight hours.

A visitors’ center will provide a history of the site and explain how it transitioned from a landfill to its current state. It will also serve as a starting point for planetarium visits and information about the facility.

Mayland plans to expand the micro-propagation lab, which is currently located on the Main Campus in Spruce Pine and add a hydroponics/aquaponics facility. These will support Mayland’s newest degree program in agriculture and provide the public with an opportunity to view these facilities and learn about how these processes are helping save rare plant species and creating innovative new farming techniques.

The Earth to Sky park also will provide flexible classroom space and a meeting center for Mayland classes and community meetings. Outside of the meeting center will be both a butterfly garden, housing plants grown from seed on site and a papermaking garden, where artists and students could harvest materials to use in Mayland art classes.

Visitors will be able to wander the grounds of the Earth to Sky Park and hike a trail through gardens to make their way up to the Bare Dark Sky Observatory. 

Visiting Hours:

While the Bare Dark Sky Observatory is open by reservation only, the Earth to Sky Park is open daily for self guided tours Monday through Friday from 8 am to 4 pm and Saturday 7 am to 12 pm. 

Though the Bare Dark Sky Observatory is only open during scheduled viewings, personal star-gazing is allowed any night of the week. If you visit for star-gazing at night, please remember that lighting is kept to a minimum so that we preserve our dark skies, so bring a flashlight and be prepared to walk on uneven terrain. If the gate is closed, please park just outside the gate, without blocking the gate - it must be allowed to open. Walk around the gate on foot, and use caution walking up the hill. You are welcome to bring your own telescope and set up on flat ground around the Observatory or in the lower parking lot.

Please note that visitors to the Earth to Sky Park are here at their own risk, and will hold Mayland Community College harmless in the event of an incident. The ground is uneven and steep, so visitors must be prepared to navigate the terrain.  The road to the Earth to Sky Park is steep and winding and there may be large trucks on the way to and from the neighboring waste transfer station. You may hear noise from MCC’s firing range, which is nearby.

Contact Information:

Address: 66 Energy Exchange Drive, Burnsville NC 28714                                                                                                                                                                                          

Phone: 828-766-1277

For information regarding the Earth to Sky Park please email:

For information regarding the Bare Dark Sky Observatory please email:


From Marion through Spruce Pine:

Travel to Spruce Pine via Hwy 221 north to Hwy 226 west.
Turn left onto Hwy 19E south toward Burnsville and travel about 8 miles.
Turn right onto Hwy 80 north and travel about 2 miles.
Turn left onto Landfill Road. Follow the signs to Mayland Earth to Sky Park.

From Asheville through Burnsville:

From I-26 West toward Tennessee take exit 9 (Burnsville exit).
On Hwy 19E north travel approximately 21 miles, passing through Burnsville.
Turn left onto Hwy 80 north and travel about 2 miles.
Turn left onto Landfill Road. Follow the signs to Mayland Earth to Sky Park.