Dark Sky Certifications

Bryce Canyon National Park was certified as an International Dark Sky Park on August 13, 2019

The International Dark Sky Places Program was started in 2001 by the International Dark Sky Association to encourage parks and communities around the world to preserve and protect dark skies through responsible lighting policies and education. The program offers five different certification types.

The Certification Toolkit includes tools and resources to aid communities, parks, and protected land areas in achieving an International Dark Sky Place Certification.

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THE INTERNATIONAL DARK SKY PLACES PROGRAM | WEBSItes & programs

The official IDA rules, guidelines and certification requirements for all International Dark Sky Place applications. Below are links to descriptions of the five certification types:

  1. International Dark Sky Communities
  2. International Dark Sky Parks
  3. International Dark Sky Reserves
  4. International Dark Sky Sanctuaries
  5. Urban Night Sky Places

International Dark Sky Association

Certification Flowchart | GUIDES

Not sure which certification type is best according to your needs and goals? Use this flowchart to determine which one is right for you.

Colorado Plateau Dark Sky Cooperative & International Dark Sky Association

WESTERN DARK SKIES DASHBOARD | INTERACTIVE

Do you live near an International Dark Sky Place? This interactive dashboard is maintained by the Colorado Plateau Dark Sky Cooperative and Utah Community Development Office and features the locations of International Dark Sky Parks, Places, and Communities throughout Colorado, Arizona, California, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

Colorado Plateau Dark Sky Cooperative

Community Resources

DARK SKY COMMUNITY PROGRAM OVERVIEW | TOPICS BRIEFS

An overview document explaining the IDA’s Dark Sky Community program including benefits communities get when achieving certification status.

Colorado Plateau Dark Sky Cooperative & International Dark Sky Association

GETTING STARTED | topics briefs

6 steps that help you and your community get started in the certification process.

Colorado Plateau Dark Sky Cooperative & International Dark Sky Association

BASIC CERTIFICATION REQUIREMENTS | topics briefs

A list of basic requirements to become an IDA certified Dark Sky Community. This document also includes resources for lighting policy requirements

Colorado Plateau Dark Sky Cooperative & International Dark Sky Association

DARK SKY COMMUNITY nomination process | video

John Barentine, Ph.D, Director of Public Policy at the International Dark Sky Association walks you through the nominations and certification process to become an IDA certified Dark Sky Community.

Bruce Arlen & John Barentine

ESTABLISHING A LOCAL DARK SKY GROUP | websites & programs

Suggestions for establishing a local dark sky group t ultimately earn certification as an International Dark Sky Community.

Ed Steward, Dark Skies Inc. of the Wet Mountain Valley

Best practices in approaching communities | topics briefs

Nine steps of action for approaching communities in dark sky conservation.

Colorado Plateau Dark Sky Cooperative & IDA Utah Chapter

“Having internationally recognized dark skies bolsters our ability to attract more visitors and offer more night programming which results in more people enjoying our parks at more times of the day.”

Fred Hayes, Former Utah State Parks Director