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Dinosaur National Monument gets ‘Dark Sky Park’ designation

Dinosaur National Monument is a great spot to see natural darkness and view the stars.
Credit: NPS/Jacob Holgerson
Stars fill the sky above the Quarry Exhibit Hall in Dinosaur National Monument.

The dark skies above Dinosaur National Monument have earned the park a new distinction.

The nearly 211,000-acre space situated along the Colorado-Utah state line has been designated as an International Dark Sky Park.

That means the skies above Dinosaur have an “an exceptional quality of natural darkness while efforts on the ground actively contribute to enjoyment and protection of dark skies for future generations,” according to a news release from the National Park Service(NPS). 

Dinosaur joins more than 100 sites worldwide that have demonstrated community support for the protection of night sky views. Colorado now has five internationally recognized Dark Sky sites, including Hovenweep National Monument, Westcliffe and Silver Cliff, Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park and the town of Norwood

“We are proud of this accomplishment,” Dinosaur National Monument Superintendent Paul Scolari said. “And we’re committed to continuing to work with surrounding communities to uphold the high standard set by the IDA in order to protect the magnificence of the night sky in our region moving forward.”    

RELATED: Colorado towns earn 'Dark Sky' designation

The monument’s 2019 public program schedule includes 35 ways to explore Dinosaur’s dark side, starting with a special presentation from 9 to 10 p.m. on May 4 outside the Quarry Exhibit Hall. 

“Our ranger staff is developing a terrific program line-up” Scolari said. "So when the sun starts to scorch, come out to Dinosaur on a cool night and check out the marvels the sky has to offer.”

The International Dark Sky Places Program was founded in 2001 to encourage communities, parks, and protected areas around the world to preserve and protect dark sites through responsible lighting policies and public education. 

RELATED: Taking Fort Collins back to the dark side

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