SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – The International Dark Sky Association (IDA) has awarded Jordanelle, Kodachrome Basin, and Rockport State Parks International Dark Sky status.

This brings the total number of dark sky Utah Parks to eight and gives Utah 21 designated dark sky places.

Why are Dark Skies places important?

According to the IDA website: “Less than 100 years ago, everyone could look up and see a spectacular starry night sky. Now, millions of children across the globe will never experience the Milky Way where they live. The increased and widespread use of artificial light at night is not only impairing our view of the universe. It is adversely affecting our environment, our safety, our energy consumption, and our health.”

The website also states: “The inappropriate or excessive use of artificial light – known as light pollution – can have serious environmental consequences for humans, wildlife, and our climate.”

Years ago, IDA started trying to fight the growth of light pollution. The Dark Skies Award meant that areas were not using excessive light. It has also become a symbol to those wishing to photograph the stars of good areas to take pictures of the Milky Way. Photographers also travel from around the world for a chance to take images of Utah’s Dark Skies.

In Utah, we have entire towns, Torrey and Helper, that have the IDA designation.

In a press release sent to ABC4 from the Division of Natural resources, “People travel from across the country and around the world to revel in the starry splendor of Utah State Parks naturally dark skies.”

They come to participate in programs such as full moon hikes, night sky snowshoeing, sunset to stars kayaking, scorpion safaris, owl prowls, and star parties–or to simply camp under the awe-inspiring arc of the Milky Way.”

Utah State Parks Director Jeff Rasmussen acknowledged the effort that has been put toward attaining these designations saying, “I have proudly supported our state park system’s contribution to Utah’s global leadership in the number of designated International Dark Sky Places. 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.”

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