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Antelope Island, Utah, has been awarded the accolade of International Dark Sky Park (IDSP), officially recognising the exceptional quality of its starry nights and nocturnal environments.
The award means Utah is now home to nine IDSPs – including Cedar Break National Monument, Canyonlands and Capitol Reef, all of which will be free to visit on certain days throughout 2017 – more than any other state or province on the planet.
Utah’s latest astro-tourism hub, a must-visit for stargazers, can be found just under an hour’s drive from Salt Lake City, far from any light pollution and easy to reach by car.
Scott Feierabend, International Dark-Sky Association executive director said: ‘The recognition of Antelope Island State Park as an IDSP is another important achievement in raising the profile of light pollution and dark skies in the greater Salt Lake City area.’
Utah will be holding celebrations of its night sky throughout the summer, including full moon mountain treks from the Sundance Mountain Resort, the ‘Master Astronomer Program’ and free star parties at Cedar Breaks National Monument, and the renowned Astronomy Festival held at the sprawling Bryce Canyon National Park every June.
Becky Johnson, senior global manager for the Utah Office of Tourism said: ‘This reinforces the state’s position as the premier stargazing destination not just in the United States, but in the world.’
To date the IDSA has recognised 46 destinations around the world including Australia’s Warrambungle National Park, Germany’s Eifel National Park and the islands of Møn and Nyord in Denmark.