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News Press release

Utah Division of Parks and Recreation announces three new International Dark Sky Park designations for Jordanelle, Kodachrome Basin, and Rockport State Parks

Dark Sky over Rockport State Park photo by Shelby Stock
Milky Way over Rockport State Park. Credit: Shelby Stock

DarkSky International (née International Dark-Sky Association) has awarded International Dark Sky Park status to Jordanelle, Kodachrome Basin, and Rockport State Parks. Utah has more dark sky state parks than any other state park system. These parks bring the total of Utah Division of Parks and Recreation’s designated dark sky parks to eight and drive the aggregate of officially designated dark sky places in Utah to 21. 

“We are thrilled to announce the designation of Jordanelle, Kodachrome Basin, and Rockport State Parks as International Dark Sky Parks,” said Ruskin Hartley, Executive Director of DarkSky. “These certifications are the culmination of immense dedication and teamwork. We applaud their efforts.”

People travel from across the country and around the world to revel in the starry splendor of Utah State Parks’ naturally dark night skies. They come to participate in programs such as full moon hikes, night sky snowshoeing, sunset to stars kayaking, scorpion safaris, owl prowls, and star parties — or to simply camp under the awe-inspiring arc of the Milky Way. 

Dark Sky over Rock Cliff Nature Area at Jordanelle State Park Photo by Utah State Park
Milky Way over Rock Cliff Nature Area at Jordanelle State Park. Credit: Utah State Parks

State Parks Director Jeff Rasmussen acknowledged the effort put toward attaining these designations, saying, “I have proudly supported our state park system’s contribution to Utah’s global leadership in the number of designated International Dark Sky Places. Jordanelle, Rockport, and Kodachrome Basin State Parks’ staff, interns, volunteers, and partners have worked tirelessly over the past five years to help these parks earn this international honor.” 

In celebration of these achievements, on Thursday, January 14, 2020, at 2:00 p.m. MST, IDA Executive Director Ruskin Hartley will host a live Facebook event interviewing Utah State Parks staff about how they accomplished their designations.

Edit: Kodachrome was decertified as a Dark Sky Park in August 2023 by request of the park staff.