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New Dark-Sky Park
Spans Two States

IDA, a non-profit organization fighting to preserve the night sky, has announced Hovenweep National Monument, located along the Utah-Colorado border, as the world's 17th International Dark Sky Park.
Photo: Wally Pacholka

The International Dark-Sky Association has announced Hovenweep National Monument, located along the Utah-Colorado border, as the world's 17th International Dark Sky Park, which has been designated at the gold-tier level. This is the first IDA Dark Sky Park to span more than one U.S. state, and is the second IDA-accredited site in the state of Utah after Natural Bridges National Monument. Both Natural Bridges and Hovenweep are jointly managed under the same NPS administrative staff.

"We are happy to welcome Hovenweep into IDA's family of International Dark Sky places. It is the fifth such place in our program from the Colorado Plateau, highlighting the growing interest and importance of night sky protection throughout the region," said IDA Acting Executive Director Scott Kardel.

Hovenweep International Dark Sky Park consists of 785 acres of federal lands divided among six non-contiguous park units along the Utah-Colorado border in the 'Four Corners' region of the American Southwest. The Monument takes its name from a Paiute/Ute word that means "deserted valley" and was adopted by pioneer photographer William Henry Jackson after his 1874 visit. The monument has ruins of six prehistoric villages, built between A.D. 1200 and 1300.

While the Monument has very little outdoor lighting, receiving IDA recognition was contingent upon developing a formal plan to guide future park development and lighting installations. Superintendent Jim Dougan points out that the Monument's Management Plan now "recognizes dark skies as one of several integral resources" that makes Hovenweep unique. "We have adopted energy conservation and efficient lighting as cornerstones to our public messaging about stewardship of resources in general and the night sky in particular," Dougan explained.

It is hoped that IDA's recognition of Hovenweep will help further the conservation of dark night skies on the
lands of the neighboring Navajo and Ute Mountain Nations, as well as at nearby Canyon of the Ancients
National Monument.

For more information about the IDA, please visit

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October 17, 2019, 9:21 pm PDT

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