Great Sand Dunes Natl. Park designated as an International Dark Sky Park

Posted at 5:45 AM, May 10, 2019
The Great Sand Dunes at night. (Patrick Myers/NPS)

ALAMOSA – The Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve earned an exciting distinction Thursday.

The International Dark-Sky Association officially designated the park as an International Dark Sky Park. The designation officially classifies it as an exceptional location to observe the Milky Way and other astronomical wonders around us.

Geography plays a big part in keeping the sky dark, with the towering Sangre de Cristo mountain range helping to block light pollution from cities along the Front Range.

“The dry air, high elevation, and lack of light pollution all make the park an ideal dark-sky destination. We are thrilled with receiving this recognition as an International Dark Sky Park,” said Great Sand Dunes Superintendent Pamela Rice in a news release.

Colorado’s Dinosaur National Monument recently earned the same designation last month. Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park in Montrose County and the Capulin Volcano National Monument in northern New Mexico are also dark sky parks.

The park said it will be holding a ceremony to celebrate the designation sometime in the late summer. Details about that celebration will be found at a later date on the park’s website.

Visitors who want to get the best view of the night sky should check a moon calendar before going. They should also check out some ranger programs that are available for visitors of all ages. Click here for more information.