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Utah Division of Parks and Recreation Announces Three New International Dark Sky Park Designations for Jordanelle, Kodachrome Basin, and Rockport State Parks

Dark Sky over Rockport State Park photo by Shelby Stock

Milky Way over Rockport State Park photo by Shelby Stock.

The International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) has awarded International Dark Sky Park status to Jordanelle, Kodachrome Basin, and Rockport State Parks. Utah has more dark sky state parks than any other state park system. These parks bring the total of Utah Division of Parks and Recreation’s designated dark sky parks to eight and drive the aggregate of officially designated dark sky places in Utah to 21. 

“We are thrilled to announce the designation of Jordanelle, Kodachrome Basin, and Rockport State Parks as International Dark Sky Parks,” said Ruskin Harltey, Executive Director of the International Dark-Sky Association. “These certifications are the culmination of immense dedication and teamwork. We applaud their efforts.”

Milky Way Over Kodachrome Basin State Park photo by Ryan Andreasen

Milky Way Over Kodachrome Basin State Park photo by Ryan Andreasen.

People travel from across the country and around the world to revel in the starry splendor of Utah State Parks’ naturally dark night skies. They come to participate in programs such as full moon hikes, night sky snowshoeing, sunset to stars kayaking, scorpion safaris, owl prowls, and star parties—or to simply camp under the awe-inspiring arc of the Milky Way. 

State Parks Director Jeff Rasmussen acknowledged the effort put toward attaining these designations, saying, “I have proudly supported our state park system’s contribution to Utah’s global leadership in the number of designated International Dark Sky Places. Jordanelle, Rockport, and Kodachrome Basin State Parks’ staff, interns, volunteers, and partners have worked tirelessly over the past five years to help these parks earn this international honor.” 

Milky Way over Rock Cliff Nature Area at Jordanelle State Park Photo by Utah State Park

Milky Way over Rock Cliff Nature Area at Jordanelle State Park Photo by Utah State Park.

In celebration of these achievements, on Thursday, January 14, 2020, at 2:00 p.m. MST, IDA Executive Director Ruskin Hartley will host a live Facebook event interviewing Utah State Parks staff about how they accomplished their designations.

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