The National Natural Landmarks Program

The National Natural Landmarks Program

A Snapshot of NNLs in our Neighboring Dark Sky Cooperative

Guest: Laurie Lee Jenkins

Download a high quality pdf version of this article here

The NNL Ichtyosaur Site taken by Greg McKay


Did you know that there are 15 National Natural Landmarks (NNL’s) within the Basin and Range Dark Sky Cooperative? Many offering amazing dark night sky viewing opportunities! Probably not! So, what is an NNL? NNL’s are natural sites found across the country that best illustrate the nations biological and geological heritage. Landmark sites are deemed nationally significant based on their outstanding condition, illustrative character, rarity, diversity and value to science and education.

Landmarks can be found on private, local, state, or federal lands and are only designated with the landowner’s permission. The NNL Program is administered by the NPS, however, the NPS has no management authority over designated landmarks and landowners/managers retain all the rights of use on their property.


The National Natural Landmark Designation creates a partnership between the site owners and the National Park Service. The stewards of NNL sites within the BRDSC have done an outstanding job of preserving the night sky resource. Like the BRDSC the NNL program facilitates conversations with local communities across the country about shared values and should be considered a tool that can advance collaborative conservation across the landscape. By working together with night sky advocates and subject matter experts the NNLs can continue to promote and celebrate the amazing night sky that can be found at the 15 NNL sites that overlap with the BRDSC.

Ultimate NNL designation is made by the Secretary of Interior after a rigorous scientific evaluation process. Today there are over 600 NNLs nationwide.

Learn more about the NNL Program here
Download: NNL Program at a Glance (PDF)
Learn more about the Basin and Range Dark Sky Cooperative

NNLs within the Basin and Range Dark Sky Cooperative:

  1. Amboy Crater NNL, CA
  2. Cinder Cones Natural Area NNL, CA
  3. Deep Springs Marsh NNL, CA (no public access)
  4. Eureka Sand Dunes NNL, CA
  5. Fish Slough NNL, CA
  6. Mitchell Caverns and Winding Stair Case NNL, CA
  7. Turtle Mountain Natural Area NNL, CA
  8. Hot Creek Springs and Marsh NNL, NV
  9. Ichthyosaur Site NNL, NV
  10. Lunar Crater NNL, NV
  11. Ruby Marsh NNL, NV
  12. Timber Mountain Caldera NNL, NV (no public access)
  13. Grapevine Mesa Joshua Trees NNL, AZ
  14. Valley of Fire NNL, NV
  15. Fort Rock NNL, OR

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