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Black Canyon Of The Gunnison Named International Dark Sky Park

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
Courtesy of Greg Owens

The Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park is now an International Dark Sky Park. 

"Being an international dark skies park means the Black Canyon has exceptional starry nights [and] an environment that's great for people and wildlife, but it’s also a place where an exceptional amount of astronomy education takes place," said Nick Myers, a lead interpreter at the site.

The designation comes from the International Dark-Sky Association, a Tucson-based nonprofit.

A member of the association nominated the park.

“Then the park goes through a pretty detailed application process [that includes] a lighting plan, an inventory plan of all of our lights, and also taking dark sky readings to see how dark the park really is," said Myers.

He said Black Canyon’s stargazing programs draw thousands of visitors.

"We have a lot of help from our local astronomy club, the Black Canyon Astronomical Society," said Myers. "[The group] brings telescopes and local astronomers to help visitors learn about the night sky. [We also] do ranger-guided night hikes to show folks the beauty of the dark, dark sky here."

There are now nine National Park Service sites with this designation.

Earlier this year, Canyonlands National Park and Capitol Reef National Park in Utah were also named International Dark Sky Parks.

Hovenweep National Monument, which straddles the Colorado-Utah border, received the title last year.

Laura joined KVNF in 2014. She was the news director for two years and now works as a freelance reporter covering Colorado's Western Slope. Laura is an award-winning journalist with work recognized by the Society of Professional Journalists, Colorado Broadcasters Association, and RTDNA. In 2015, she was a fellow for the Institute for Justice & Journalism. Her fellowship project, a three-part series on the Karen refugee community in Delta, Colorado, received a regional Edward R. Murrow Award.
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