SPRINGDALE, Utah (ABC4) – Another park in Utah has been certified as an International Dark Sky Park.

Zion National Park is the latest Utah park to receive the certification, which recognizes its exceptional quality of night skies and provides astronomy-based interpretive programming.

“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,” says Jeff Bradybaugh, park superintendent.   

To mark the recognition, all Ranger-led programming during the week of June 7 will focus on promoting Junior Ranger Night Explorer booklets and night sky themes. For more on these activities, visit the National Park Service.

If you can’t visit the park in person, the National Park Serive will offer opportunites to celebrate the Dark Sky certification virtually.

Children can become a Junior Ranger Night Explorer from home by downloading the booklet here. Ranger-led activities will also be provided to the public on the park’s social media – Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

The International Dark-Sky Association says they designate IDSPs following a rigorous application process requiring applicants to demonstrate robust community support for dark sky protection and document designation-specific program requirements, with regular status updates after designation ensure that IDSPs continue their commitment to dark-sky preservation.

Utah’s Natural Bridges National Monument was the first National Park Service unit to receive the certification in 2007.

Zion National Park is the 24th area in Utah to receive Dark Sky recognition. There are now five national parks, 10 state parks, and two town among Utah’s designated Dark Sky areas.

The Beehive State is home to the highest concentration of accredited International Dark Sky Places. Governor Spencer Cox declared April 2021 as Utah Dark Sky Month to recognize the state’s designated areas and the great responsibility that comes with them.

Utah’s Division of Parks and Recreation lists the following changes you can make to help Utah’s Dark Sky Places stay dark. 

  • Light only where you need it
  • Shield lights and direct them downward
  • Use the minimum amount of light necessary
  • Select warmer white light bulbs

Here is a list of Utah’s designated Dark Sky areas.