SUMMIT COUNTY, Utah. — Starting Jan. 14, Utah has 21 state parks designated as International Dark Sky Parks, with the newest locations on the list being in Park City’s backyard: Jordanelle and Rockport State Parks.
The designation comes from the International Dark Sky Association (IDA) whose mission is “to protect the night from light pollution,” and is not an easy accolade to obtain. According to the IDA website, candidacy for designation requires a park to “demonstrate robust community support for dark sky protection and document designation-specific program requirements.”
“I have proudly supported our state park system’s contribution to Utah’s global leadership in the number of designated International Dark Sky Places,” said Jeff Rasmussen, director of the Utah Division of Parks and Recreation, in a statement. “Jordanelle, Rockport, and Kodachrome Basin State Parks’ staff, interns, volunteers, and partners have worked tirelessly over the past five years to help these parks earn this international honor.”
The IDA hosted a Zoom interview (below) with key players of Utah’s state parks in which it announced the new designations. According to Utah State Parks Education Specialist Justina Parsons-Bernstein, these parks are exceptional locations for astrophotography, and the designations provide unique learning opportunities for youth and volunteerism.