Utah’s Zion National Park is famous for its astonishing landscapes and natural wonders – but now it may gain more recognition as a great place for stargazing.
The National Park Service (NPS) and the International Dark Sky Association have certified Zion National Park as an International Dark Sky Park. This new designation recognizes the high quality of the night skies over the park, and will provide more opportunities for visitors to enjoy them through programs designed to encourage stargazing. The program is designed to protect the night sky by encouraging responsible outdoor lighting and public education, and helps put Zion on the map as a great place to gaze up at the night sky.
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“Zion National Park is committed to conserving the park’s night skies for all future generations and to educating visitors about the values of this important resource,” said Jeff Bradybaugh, park superintendent, in a statement.
The NPS notes that many people travel to Zion to see the sunset turn its iconic cliffs a beautiful orange. However, the night skies that are visible to visitors and campers can be just as astounding, with even the Milky Way on view. See the park’s stargazing tips here.
The first site within the National Park Service to receive the certification was Utah’s Natural Bridges National Monument back in 2007. Now, Zion joins a number of other sites in Utah that are designated International Dark Sky Places, including a number of other National Park Service units and state parks. Back in December, Voyageurs National Park in Minnesota was named a dark sky park, while Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado received the designation in April.
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