Zion National Park Designated As International Dark Sky Park
SPRINGDALE, Utah — The National Park Service announced Zion National Park has been certified as an International Dark Sky Park by the International Dark-Sky Association.
The park is Utah’s 24th certified dark sky place and the last of the state’s “Mighty 5” national parks to receive the designation.
“Zion has taken its place alongside the other ‘Big Five’ parks that are rightly counted among the crown jewels of the U.S. National Park Service,” said IDA Executive Director Ruskin Hartley. “The high degree of international visibility of these parks and their popularity ensures that over 10 million visitors a year will learn about the importance of protecting their night skies.”
Among the changes the NPS made to the park was the installation of night-friendly fixtures at the Zion Canyon Visitor Center, Zion Human History Museum, Zion Lodge and campgrounds that direct light downward instead of casting it upward into the sky while replacing white and blue bulbs with more night sky-friendly amber and red bulbs.
“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 park superintendent Jeff Bradybaugh.
The NPS and IDA added that the town of Springdale was a key partner in helping the park reach dark sky certification.
“Situated just outside the entrance to Zion National Park, Springdale has long had an abiding mutual interest in helping to protect natural resources of this incredible public land,” said Mayor Stanley Smith. “We value the beauty of our night sky and understand the need to protect it in a collaborate effort. We applaud and wholeheartedly support Zion’s efforts to preserve this ethereal gem.”
Earlier this year, Goosenecks and Fremont Indian state parks were the ninth and 10th state parks to receive the designation, giving Utah “more designations than any other state park system in the world,” officials said.
Gunlock and Wasatch Mountain state parks are following a similar process to receive their own dark sky designation.
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