DINOSAUR NATIONAL MONUMENT — If you want to escape the light pollution of the Wasatch Front, consider heading east to Dinosaur National Monument.
The monument, situated in Uintah County on the Utah-Colorado border, has been designated an International Dark Sky Park, according to a Monday news release from the park.
“We are proud of this accomplishment and we’re committed to continuing to work with surrounding communities to uphold the high standard set by the (International Dark Sky Association) in order to protect the magnificence of the night sky in our region moving forward,” Dinosaur National Monument Superintendent Paul Scolari said in the release.
The park’s programming schedule this year will provide visitors with 35 opportunities to experience the monument’s dark sky, according to the news release.
The monument also was named one of the quietest places in the United States in 2015.
There are 10 other International Dark Sky Parks in Utah:
- Antelope Island State Park (Davis County)
- Canyonlands National Park (San Juan, Wayne, Garfield and Grand counties)
- Capitol Reef National Park (Wayne, Garfield, Sevier and Emery counties)
- Cedar Breaks National Monument (Iron County)
- Dead Horse Point State Park (Grand County)
- Goblin Valley State Park (Emery County)
- Hovenweep National Monument (San Juan County)
- Natural Bridges National Monument (San Juan County)
- North Fork Park (Weber County)
- Steinaker State Park (Uintah County)
There are more than 100 designated dark sky places across the world, according to the International Dark Sky Association website. The group designates six types of dark sky places: communities, parks, reserves, sanctuaries, urban night sky places and dark sky friendly developments of distinction.
Dark sky sanctuaries are the most remote, and usually darkest places in the world. There are only nine dark sky sanctuaries in the world, and four of them are in the U.S.
Dark sky reserves typically have a dark core surrounded by populated areas and have policies that protect the dark core.
Dark sky parks are public or private areas that have good outdoor lighting and provide dark sky programming for visitors.
Dark sky communities are cities and towns that adopt outdoor lighting ordinances and educate residents about dark skies. Torrey, in Wayne County, is Utah’s only designated dark sky community.
Urban night sky places and dark sky friendly developments of distinction provide recognition for communities and developers that promote an “authentic nighttime experience” or more natural night sky, according to the website.
Places seeking a dark sky designation from the group must go through a thorough application process that includes, in part, showing “robust community support” for the dark sky protection, according to the website.