Moab, Utah Is Applying for Dark Sky Certification

This could benefit both Moab itself and the surrounding region

Night sky in Moab
The Colorado River Basin is viewed two hours befores before sunrise and under the light of a 50% moon on October 7, 2023 near Moab, Utah.
George Rose/Getty Images

There’s a growing demand around the country for tourism built around one of the most primal experiences possible: of standing under the open sky and looking up at the stars. Death Valley National Park holds an annual event dedicated to the full dark sky experience, and Virginia has been making huge strides in its stargazing capabilities as well. The latest dark sky news doesn’t directly concern a park — but it could still benefit plenty of them.

As Doug McMurdo at The Salt Lake Tribune reports, Moab, Utah is readying its application to be a Dark Sky Community. This is good news for would-be stargazers in Moab, but it’s also encouraging for travelers visiting the many parks in the vicinity of Moab. Writing at Clean Technica, Jennifer Sensiba pointed out that Moab is the largest town or city near the likes of Natural Bridges National Monument and Dead Horse Point State Park.

The Tribune notes that, as a first step towards seeking this designation, Moab’s local government has changed the lighting for several streetlights — and is now seeking comment from its residents.

Dark Sky International designates places as Dark Sky Communities that have “shown exceptional dedication to the preservation of the night sky through the implementation and enforcement of quality lighting policies, dark sky education, and citizen support of the ideal of dark skies.” This includes establishing a lighting policy and holding several outreach events for the local community.

How Are You Celebrating International Dark Sky Week?
Dedicated programs are happening all over the world

If Moab receives this designation, they’ll be in good company. Well over half of Dark Sky International’s designated places in the United States are located in the Southwest. And that’s without getting into the health benefits of spending time under dark skies — which could be an added bonus for people in and around Moab in the coming years.


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