Good news, everyone! Dinosaur National Monument has been declared an International Dark Sky Park. This is good, right?

Okay, so what exactly does that mean? According to nps.gov, it means "This distinction recognizes the skies above Dinosaur as having an exceptional quality of natural darkness while efforts on the ground actively contribute to enjoyment and protection of dark skies for future generations."

Who did the "designating" here? The International Dark Sky Places Program encourages communities, protected areas, and parks around the world to "preserve and protect dark sites through responsible lighting polices and public education." Dinosaur National Monument, after a rigorous application process, joins over 100 other locations.

“We are proud of this accomplishment, and we’re committed to continuing to work with surrounding communities to uphold the high standard set by the IDA in order to protect the magnificence of the night sky in our region moving forward.” - Dinosaur National Monument Superintendent Paul Scolari

That's five wins for Colorado. Think of all the people in big cities like Denver or Salt Lake who rarely get to see the stars from their own backyards. Dinosaur National Monument is only a few hours drive away. Personally, I can remember the days when I used to commute from Grand Junction to Vernal, Utah, and would stop in the hills between Dinosaur and Rangely just to look at the stars.

Congrats, Dinosaur National Monument. Until today I had never heard of the International Dark Sky Places Program. In this day of light pollution, it only makes sense to name places where one can enjoy a view of the Milky Way. I'll have to pay a visit.