US Dark Sky Parks and Preserves (with Map & Photos)

US Dark Sky Parks - Natural Bridges National Monument of the USA in southeastern Utah is the first park to be granted (2007) Dark Sky Park status by the IDA.

us dark sky parks
US Dark Sky Parks

Cherry Springs State Park in northeastern Pennsylvania was recognized by the IDA as a top-level dark sky park in 2008. For starry sky observations, a large mountaintop observation deck 700 meters above park level is used. Since 1999, astronomy enthusiasts have held the annual Black Forest Star Party on the territory of the park.

Clayton Lake State Park is located in the state of New Mexico, 24 km north of Clayton. It is famous for the fact that it contains traces of dinosaurs (one of the largest tracks of these creatures in North America). The lake was created artificially in 1955 - from March to October it is possible to fish on it, which is why those who like fishing come here. In 2010, IDA recognized this place as a dark sky park.

Goldendale Observatory State Park is a small public, that is, "people's", astronomical observatory (equipped with a 24.5-inch telescope, one of the largest public telescopes in the United States) on a hilltop near the small town of Goldendale in Washington state. In 2010, the IDA recognized the area around the observatory as a dark sky park.
 
Observatory Park is located in the northeastern part of Ohio, where there is still little light pollution. When, in 2008, the Geauga Park District included the land that houses the Nassau Observatory (named after astronomer Jason Nassau), which had previously belonged to Case Western Reserve University, a decision was made to restore it in order to observational use by the general public, and that the park will be dedicated to the natural sciences. The development of this park is completely funded by donations. In 2011, Observatory Park received the status of a "silver" dark sky park from the IDA.

The Headlands Park is an international dark sky park since 2011, located in the state of Michigan (USA). On the territory of the park, various activities related to observations of the starry sky and astronomical phenomena take place.

us dark sky parks
US Dark Sky Parks

Enchanted Rock State Natural Reserve is located in the state of Texas (USA). In 2014, IDA certified it as a dark sky park. But since 2011, organized observations of the starry sky have been organized on the territory of the park.

Big Bend National Park also lies in the state of Texas. It is estimated to have the darkest night sky of anywhere in the US. This place received the status of an international (highest level) dark sky park from the IDA in 2012.

Death Valley National Park in the state of California and partially in the state of Nevada is the largest dark sky park (13,518 square km) (2013). Lighting from Las Vegas and Los Angeles already lights up the sky over the southern part of the park, but even in its extreme south it is much better than most other places in the United States.

Chaco National Historic Park with an area of ​​13,759 square kilometers is located in northwestern New Mexico between the cities of Albuquerque and Farmington in the Chaco Canyon. This park is considered one of the most important areas in North America for archeology. It is also considered one of the darkest night spots in America, where the sky is as dark as it was a thousand years ago. Although 99% of the park is a zone of "natural darkness", its administration takes care to reduce light pollution. The park was certified by IDA in 2013 at the highest ("gold") level.

The Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument, located in the northern part of the Grand Canyon in the state of Arizona (USA), received the status of a dark sky park in 2014.

Hovenweep National Monument on the border of the states of Colorado and Utah in the USA received the status of a dark sky park in 2014.

Blue Ridge Observatory and Star Park in the state of North Carolina in the southeastern United States was certified by the IDA in 2014 as an international dark sky park. Mayland Community College, which owns the park, plans to open a new "people's" observatory and planetarium on its territory in 2016.

Copper Breaks State Park in the northern part of the state of Texas in the USA received the status of a dark sky park in 2014.

Oracle State Park is located in the southeastern part of the state of Arizona (USA). The light from the city of Tucson, which is relatively close, is blocked by the Santa Catalina Mountains. The park provides an opportunity to observe the real starry sky to almost 1 million people who live in the vicinity of Tucson. The IDA recognized the site as a Dark Sky Park in 2014.

In 2015, the IDA granted dark sky park status to several more parks in the US:

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park in the Rocky Mountains (Colorado).

Canyonlands National Park in Utah.

Capitol Reef National Park in the southern part of the state of Utah.

Pickett CCC Memorial State Park & ​​Pogue Creek Canyon State Natural Area in northern Tennessee. Several organized events related to astronomical observations take place on the territory of the park every year.

Staunton River State Park in the southern part of the state of Virginia along the banks of the Dan and Staunton rivers. Since 2011, organized observations of the starry sky have been held annually on the territory of the park.

Weber Norton Fork Park in the northern part of Utah. In the summer, the park offers many forms of recreation, including observing the starry sky.

Bryce Canyon National Park in southwestern Utah. On its territory there is a gigantic natural amphitheater that arose as a result of erosion - Bryce Canyon. The darkness of its night sky is purposefully protected by caretakers and volunteers - amateurs of astronomy. The Astronomy Festival takes place here every year.

* On the territory of the USA there are also non-IDA certified places where good conditions for observing the starry sky are still preserved. These include national parks: Joshua Tree (Joshua Tree National Park) in the southeastern part of the state of California (the local astronomical society organizes monthly observations of the starry sky here for all who are willing): Great Basin in the state of Nevada; Denali (Alaska), where from August to April the light part of the day lasts no more than 6 hours; Rocky Mountain in Colorado; Acadia in the state of Maine (there is an annual astrofest with observations of the starry sky). And also parks: Sedona in the state of Arizona; Big Pine Key (Florida); White Mountains(state of California).

Let's not forget, in the end, about the incredible starry sky on the island of Mauna Kea from the Hawaiian archipelago. It is here that one of the largest astronomical observatories in the world is located.