Stargazer? Zion National Park Has Become An International Dark Sky Park
For those who love to gaze at the stars, the beautiful Zion National Park has been certified as an International Dark Sky Park.
Zion National Park in Utah is renowned for its natural wonders and spectacular landscapes. However, besides the beauty of the park during the day and at sunset, those who love stargazing can now appreciate even more beauty during the night. This will likely lead to Zion National Park gaining even more recognition as it is certified an International Dark Sky Park.
Stargazing In Utah’s Zion National Park
Zion National Park has been certified as an International Dark Sky Park by the National Park Service and the International Dark-Sky Association. The new certification recognizes the high quality of the night skies over the park and will offer more opportunities for visitors to enjoy programs dedicated to encouraging stargazing.
Back in February this year, it was announced that Minnesota had its first International Dark Sky Park at Boundary Waters. During the COVID-19 pandemic, stargazers from around the world got to experience England’s virtual dark skies festivals from the comfort of their own homes. Now, Utah is giving stargazers another wonderful option to enjoy their favorite hobby.
Educating Visitors To Zion National Park
The International Dark-Sky program is not only designed to give stargazers the best view of the constellations, however, as it is also designed to protect the night sky by encouraging responsible outdoor lighting. The program that will also put Zion on the map as a great stargazing location is also involved in public education.
Jeff Bradybaugh, Zion National Park superintendent, said in a statement, “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.”
Astounding Views In Zion
As noted by the National Park Service, many people visit Zion National Park to watch the iconic sunsets turn the iconic cliffs a beautiful neon shade of orange. However, now, visitors and campers can appreciate the night skies that follow those sunsets. They will be able to clearly appreciate the stars and constellations and even the Milky Way during a visit to the park.
Zion National Park’s website offers tips for enjoying the night sky, with its thousands of stars, hanging above the jagged silhouette of cliffs. The website also warns visitors that the park protects its dark sky resource for future generations by not lighting up the night. For this reason, once the sun is set, the park is very dark and visitors should be prepared for that.
International Dark-Sky Parks
The first National Park Service site to receive the certification was Utah’s Natural Bridges National Monument back in 2007. Zion now joins several other sites in the state that are designated International Dark Sky Places, including other National Park Service units and state parks. In December 2020, Voyageurs National Park in Minnesota has certified a dark sky park, while in April, Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado also received the designation.
Learn about the stars and constellations on your next visit to Zion National Park in Utah – go for the iconic sunsets, but stay for the incredible night sky.
Share your thoughts in the comments section below, on our Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest!