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Canyonlands Officially Named "Dark Sky Park"

Photo Dan Duriscoe.
Dark Sky in the Canyonlands National Park.

Canyonlands National Park in eastern Utah is being recognized for its dark skies and lack of light pollution.

Park officials announced this week that Canyonlands was named as an “International Dark Sky Park” by the Arizona-based International Dark-Sky Association.

John Barentine is the program manager.

“In that part of the state there is a growing awareness of the value of dark skies," Barentine said. "Not only as a natural resource that’s worth protecting, but also as a potential draw for tourism. “

He said Utah has other "dark parks" including Natural Bridges and Capitol Reef.

He said people come from as far away as Europe and Asia to view stars and experience open night skies.

“They’ll make their vacations in places like Canyonlands specifically to come see the dark skies,” Barentine said.

Canyonlands is now one of 26 parks recognized by the group for park efforts to preserve views of the night sky.

Efforts began several years ago by park officials to meet the association’s requirements to be recognized as a dark park and said they only use “night sky friendly” light bulbs and fixtures to minimize light pollution.

The National Park Service is planning a special astronomy event on Sept. 18 to commemorate the dark-sky designation and showcase views of star-filled skies.