One of the most amazing sites in the world, Colorado's Mesa Verde National Park is now the world's 100th "Dark Sky Park."

Okay, so what is a Dark Sky Park, and what does that mean to Colorado? Well, in my opinion, being designated a Dark Sky Park is extremely cool, and a real honor for Mesa Verde.

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Who gave Mesa Verde this designation?

The International Dark-Sky Association is an organization that works to protect the night skies for present and future generations. According to their official website:

The award-winning International Dark Sky Places (IDSP) 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.

Mesa Verde National Park boasts "exceptional" night skies.

On April 5, 2021, the National Park Service and the International Dark-Sky Association announced Mesa Verde National Park as the world’s 100th International Dark Sky Park. According to darksky.org, "This certification recognizes the exceptional quality of Mesa Verde's night skies and provides added opportunities to enhance visitor experiences through astronomy-based interpretive programming."

Here's something you might not have known.

Did you know Mesa Verde National Park offers public night sky programs throughout the year? I didn't, and I visit the park frequently.

Let's celebrate this honor.

That would be fun, but it appears we'll have to wait. Mesa Verde will celebrate the certification achievement when we're able to gather in large groups. Until then, we'll just have to say "Congrats."

This is not the first place in Colorado to be designated an International Dark Sky Location.

Eight locations in Colorado have already been awarded this honor. According to CBSN Denver, they include:

    • Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
    • Dinosaur National Monument
    • Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve
    • Jackson Lake State Park
    • Hovenweep National Monument
    • Norwood
    • Ridgway
    • Westcliffe & Silver Cliff

Congratulations to Mesa Verde National Park. It appears another road trip is order, this time with plans to stay the night.

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