Colorado’s Mesa Verde National Park was just named one of the best places to go stargazing in the United States by the International Dark-Sky Association. The park was accredited as the 100th International Dark Sky Park, which puts it in the top darkest places in the world.
An epic place to explore, Mesa Verde has a sustainable approach to lighting, which is what earned the park its official dark-sky certification. In order to qualify for the classification, a protected area needs to be evaluated according to pollution surveys, undergo an inventory of light sources, and make energy-efficient upgrades if needed.
The announcement comes in the midst of International Dark Sky Week, which runs April 5-11. “National parks are some of the best places in America to see a breathtaking array of stars, planets, and neighboring galaxies,” Mesa Verde National Park Superintendent Cliff Spencer commented in a press release. The park is now one of 169 spots in 21 countries around the world that comprise the International Dark Sky Places Program. The program was founded in 2001 as a way to encourage communities and areas to preserve the dark skies through sustainable and responsible lighting policies. Light pollution is a serious issue that can negatively disrupt wildlife, waste valuable resources, and contribute to climate change.
Mesa Verde National Park is as enticing and diverse to explore at night as it is during the day when visitors can discover over 5,000 known archeological sites featuring petroglyphs and rugged cliffs. The park has become a favorite spot for astronomy lovers to observe the Milky Way and tops the bucket list of many post-pandemic exploration trips.