Rural IDA Sky Places


Norwood is a small rural town on Wright’s Mesa at an altitude of 7,000 feet (2,134 meters) in San Miguel County. Its high desert climate and very dry conditions create many days and nights with clear skies.

Locals formed the West End Dark Sky Alliance (WEDSA) in 2016 with the mission of “preserving and protecting our dark sky resource while fostering awareness of light pollution and reducing its detrimental effects.” 

The Town of Ridgway is a home–rule municipality with a population of just over 1,000 people, located along the Uncompahgre River in the foothills of the San Juan Mountains, in colorful southwest Colorado.


Black Canyon Of The Gunnison is a 12,440-hectare U.S. National Park situated in a part of western Colorado.

Canyonlands National Park preserves a series of canyons, mesas and other landforms the confluence of the Colorado River and the Green River on the Colorado Plateau. 

Encompasses 42,000 acres and a series of three reservoirs (Blue Mesa, Morrow Point, and Crystal Reservoirs) along the once free-flowing Gunnison River

​​Top of the Pines (TOP) is an outstanding and beautiful outdoor recreation area, environmental education base camp, special event destination, and open space preserve.

Light pollution in urban centers creates a sky glow that can blot out the stars. The brighter the area in this zoomable map, the harder it is to see stars and constellations in the night sky. In the United States, national parks are often a refuge for darkness; national parks are shown in purple in the map below.

Light Contamination Effects

Legislation Regarding Dark Sky & Light Pollution


Support Dark Sky Designation And Promotion In Colorado

Concerning the designation and promotion of dark sky locations in Colorado.

SESSION: 2022 Regular Session

SUBJECTS: Business & Economic Development Natural Resources & Environment


The International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) encourages communities, parks, and protected areas to preserve and protect dark skies by various means, including an international dark sky places program that offers designations for 5 types of dark sky places. The bill requires the Colorado tourism office (office) to establish the Colorado designated dark sky designation technical assistance grant program (program) to:

Provide technical assistance grants to applicants seeking direct support from the IDA for activities related to international dark sky designation; and

Provide general education and outreach about dark skies and specifically promote responsible and sustainable tourism opportunities in designated dark sky places in the state.

The office may contract with the IDA and the Colorado chapter of the IDA to help the office develop its program policies, evaluate grant applications, and make recommendations to the office regarding which applicants should receive grant awards and what the amount of each award should be. The office may also contract with is also required, on its own, in consultation with the IDA and the Colorado chapter of the IDA, or by contracting with the IDA and the Colorado chapter of the IDA, to provide general education and outreach and to promote tourism. To fund the program, the bill requires $50,000 $35,000 to be transferred from the general fund to the Colorado travel and tourism additional source fund, which current law continuously appropriates to the office.

On or before November 1, 2023, the office is required to submit a report detailing the expenditure of the money dedicated to the program to the house of representatives business affairs and labor committee and the senate business, labor, and technology committee, or their successor committees. The report must specify the grant-supported actions taken in furtherance of designating new dark sky places and indicate how many program grant recipients have opened and maintained an active case file with the IDA or have had a community or other place designated certified by the IDA as a designated dark sky place.

Dark Sky Reserve Package

For The San Miguel County Planning Commission

Dark Sky Reserve Package San Miguel County Planning Commission 4-8-21.docx