Lights Out: Colorado Adds Three New Dark Sky Certified Locations
We're seeing stars here in Colorado, and it's because we're becoming one of the darkest places in the country. If you're a stargazer, you know you have to get pretty far out of town to be able to see much of anything thanks to light pollution. But according to Forbes, Colorado is actually on its way to becoming a dark sky destination.
Forbes reported that in June of 2021, four new places in the U.S. became 'dark sky certified' by the International Dark-Sky Association, meaning they are recognized as some of the darkest places on the planet. Three of them are here in Colorado.
Two of the new locations are the neighboring towns of Nucla and Naturita, which most of us on the Front Range have probably never heard of. They are old uranium mining towns in Montrose County, often referred to as the 'West End.'
You can understand why it would be so dark out there; sparsely populated and 60 miles from the nearest stoplight, CPR said. While the two are no longer thriving mining towns, they may have something else to offer. Forbes said that in 2020, locals founded the West End Dark Sky Alliance (WEDSA).
'We are happy our West End communities are now recognized by IDA as one of the darkest places left on the planet, and that we appreciate and want to preserve as much of our historic, rare, and exceptional dark starry skies as we can,' WEDSA member Deb Stueber told Forbes.
Naturita also is home to Camp V, a new camping destination where visitors can unwind and unplug in tents, Airstreams or old mining cabins.
The last Colorado location to be dark sky certified in June is Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument in Teller County, west of Colorado Springs.
'The Monument is uniquely located,' National Park Service Superintendent Therese Johnson said. 'It is within a reasonable driving distance of a large urban area, yet far enough away and tucked behind some mountains that block urban light pollution.'
Forbes said that Colorado is becoming a 'leader of dark sky locations' in the United States. You can read more here.
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