Who turned out the lights?
Highlighting Durango's effort to obtain Dark Sky status

Who turned out the lights?

Photo courtesy Colorado Tourism Office

Missy Votel - 04/04/2024

Durango may be out of the path of totality for next Monday’s solar eclipse – we’ll see about a 65% of the sun obscured, peaking at 12:32 p.m. – but that isn’t stopping the inaugural “Durango Dark Sky Celebration” next week.

Held in conjunction with International Dark Sky Week, the event takes place from 6-8:30 p.m., Fri., April 12, at The Powerhouse and promises to be an “enchanting evening” that will “illuminate” the importance of preserving our night skies.  

Sponsored by Visit Durango, in partnership with The Powerhouse, the family-friendly event also kicks off the Powerhouse’s new exhibit, “Sun, Earth, Universe.” Perhaps most importantly, the event highlights Durango’s years-long effort toward achieving dark sky certification.

In 2023, Visit Durango was one of five recipients throughout the state to receive a grant from the Colorado Dark Sky Certification Mentor Program, which is administered by the Colorado Tourism Office and the International Dark-Sky Association. (Bayfield was named as a 2024 grant recipient.) The goal of the program is to help tourism offices across the state reach International Dark Sky Place certification. 

To that end, the Durango’s Dark Sky celebration will feature presentations from The Powerhouse, Visit Durango and Dark Sky Colorado in order to share the virtues of dark sky conservation and how people can reduce light pollution. 

“Durango's Dark Sky Celebration is more than an event; it's a commitment to safeguarding our natural night environment for generations to come,” Visit Durango’s Weylin Ryan said.

The Colorado Dark Sky program was made possible through a bill passed by the State Legislature in 2022.  "Thanks to a shared love of the outdoors, Coloradans across the state will be able to enjoy starlit skies free from light pollution," bill sponsor Rep. Julie McCluskie, D-Dillon, said at the time. "The legislation will help communities preserve ecosystems, boost sustainable tourism and protect our beautiful night skies."

Colorado is home to 15 International Dark-Sky communities or parks, including Norwood, Naturita, Ridgway, Crestone, Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, Mesa Verde National Park and Jackson Lake State Park, in Mancos.

To learn more about Durango’s Dark Sky Initiative visit: engage.durango.org