Wildlife and People Need Dark Skies

Light pollution – or too much artificial light where it is not wanted or needed – can affect our health, the environment, wildlife, and our opportunity to find awe in our natural night sky. For many wild animals, shifting natural light triggers when to sleep, eat, migrate, hunt, and even reproduce. Artificial light is also a hazard to migrating wildlife. Birds can be led off-course or collide with windows of illuminated buildings.

Dark skies are important for many reasons. The International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) was founded in 2001 to help communities, parks, and protected areas preserve dark sites through responsible lighting policies and public education. The IDA lists many sites across Colorado as International Dark-Sky Association designated sites. Jackson Lake State Park in Morgan County is one of the only state parks, with Ridgeway State Park currently in the process of accreditation. The International Dark Sky Places (IDSP) program consists of roughly 150 certified IDSPs around the world, 95 of which are located in the United States and 74 of those are west of the Mississippi River. 

There are many specific requirements for achieving this accreditation regarding the type of fixtures to use; they must be fully shielded lighting amenities, have a certain color temperature of bulbs, and should only light things required for safety. Other benefits of IDSA designation to a park or community include becoming dark sky friendly and providing many benefits for wildlife, as well as reducing energy consumption.

Visit https://www.darksky.org/ to learn more about Dark Skies.

List of International Dark-Sky Designated Sight in Colorado


Black Canyon of the Gunnison NP

Dinosaur National Monument

Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve

Mesa Verde National Park

Jackson Lake State Park

Curecanti National Recreation Area


Norwood, Colorado

Westcliffe, Colorado

Silver Cliff, Colorado

Nucla, Colorado