|The Temple of the Moon - Capitol Reef National Park - Photo by Royce Bair|
As light pollution increases across the country, some national parks on the Colorado Plateau are being recognized internationally as places to experience an extraordinary and diminishing resource—dark night skies. Less than one-third of the country’s population lives in a place where they can see the Milky Way, and in many national parks, stargazing programs draw more visitors than any other ranger-led activity.
In 2007, the International Dark-Sky Association designated Natural Bridges National Monument in southeastern Utah the world’s first International Dark Sky Park. In 2013, the association awarded International Dark Sky Park status to Chaco Culture National Historical Park in northwestern New Mexico for its natural nighttime darkness, commitment to reducing light pollution, and public outreach and education programs. And in 2014, the association also recognized Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument as the newest dark-sky park for its superior opportunities to view the night skies.