SALT LAKE CITY — For the second year in a row, Gov. Spencer Cox declared the month of April to be “Dark Sky Month”, due to Utah’s scenic night skies.
The International Dark Sky Association, an award-winning conservation program that recognizes communities that strive to preserve the beauty of the night, has designated 24 Dark Sky Places in Utah since 2007, giving the state the highest concentration of Dark Sky Places in the entire world.
Park City, Moab, Torrey (near Capitol Reef National Park), and Helper in Carbon County are considered dark sky communities.
Summit County has passed similar restrictions requiring the installation of full cutoff lighting, with some exceptions.
Jordanelle State Park, Rockport State Park, and East Canyon State Park are all certified dark sky parks.
“Dark skies are integral to the well-being of many animal and plant species and are demonstrated to have positive health impacts to human beings,” Gov. Spencer J. Cox stated in his declaration of Dark Skies Month. “We wish to recognize the efforts and advocacy of federal, state, local and nonprofit agencies as well as Utah’s recreation, tourism and education sectors which make night sky opportunities in our state available for all to enjoy.”
Utah’s dark skies also play a key role in the state’s economy as ‘Astro Tourism’ continues to grow and is expected to generate nearly $6 billion and employ more than 113,000 workers in the southwest over the next 10 years, according to the governor’s office. With guided star-gazing adventures, astronomy programs, star parties, dark sky photography and more, there is a unique opportunity for Utah.
“Having the most certified dark skies in the world is one of the many ways that Utah is precious,” said Vicki Varela, managing director of the Utah Office of Tourism. “All precious things require stewardship so that we can enjoy them now and also protect them for future generations to enjoy.”
Varela mentioned that the office’s Red Emerald Strategic Plan creates a path for a perpetual visitor economy. All Utah residents share a role in preserving the state’s natural beauty through responsible recreation, keeping the sights and sounds of nature easy and welcoming to enjoy. The Utah Office of Tourism has maintained a Dark Sky Places webpage complete with guides, stories, and details about each of the Places.
For more information on Utah’s Dark Sky Places, individuals can visit this link.