The Western Night Skies Council

The Western Night Skies Council (WNSC) values the preservation of the last remaining large ‘pools’ of natural darkness in the Lower 48 states and presents a platform for sharing resources and information, increasing dialogue, and providing mutual support for the diverse groups of night sky conservation advocates throughout the Western United States.

Aubrey Larsen, CPDSC Coordinator at
Jake Powell, GNAR Initiative Lead at

About the Council

Artificial sky brightness as a ratio to natural sky brightness highlighting the 11 western states.


49 International Dark Sky Parks

30 + Council members

16 International Dark Sky Communities

11 Western States

2 Dark Sky Cooperatives

1 Big starry sky

The Western Night Skies Council is composed of 30+ core members representing state and federal agencies, community leaders, tribal nations, educational institutions, non-profits, and local businesses throughout the West. The council meets virtually on a quarterly basis.

Council-sponsored webinars are open to all interested participants and provide opportunities for knowledge and skill-sharing, interactive Q&A’s, network building, showcasing dark-sky advocacy work, and fostering connection, communication, and collaboration.

Desired Outcomes

  • Increased communication and collaboration between dark-sky advocates
  • Sharing of best practices, tools, resources, information, and skills
  • Clarification as to who is doing what where
  • Amplification of night sky advocate voices
  • Decreased stigmatization of the dark skies movement
  • Entities working together that would not normally do so
  • Opportunities to connect students and young professionals with projects, internships, and career opportunities

Western Night Sky Council Webinar Series

JANUARY 13, 2021 2-3:30PM MST


Global light pollution is increasing at a rate of nearly 2% a year. While naturally dark night skies are becoming increasingly rare, pockets of natural darkness can still be found throughout the Western United States. The region boasts the highest concentration of International Dark Sky Places in the world. This dialogue-rich session brings together a diverse group of dark-sky advocates and community leaders from five Western states. It provides an opportunity to meet and learn from them as they share perspectives on protecting what may be the last remaining pools of natural darkness in the Continental U.S. Presented by the GNAR Initiative and the Colorado Plateau Dark Sky Cooperative.


  • Dark-Sky Toolbox: Dark-sky tools and resources curated by the Colorado Plateau Dark Sky Cooperative.
  • GNAR Toolkit: More resources for gateway and natural amenity region communities.
  • WNSC Webinar Library: a library of recorded video webinars (coming soon).
  • Cosmic Connections Board: Projects, internships, and career opportunities for students and young professionals (coming soon).

About The Dark Sky Cooperatives & GNAR

The Colorado Plateau and Basin and Range Dark Sky Cooperatives support and promote landscape-scale night sky conservation efforts throughout two of the darkest remaining regions in the Western U.S. and the GNAR (Gateway, Natural Amenity, Recreation) Initiative aims to leverage research, education, and capacity building to assist communities, land managers, and others in gateway and natural amenity regions throughout the West in preparing for and responding to planning, development, natural resource management, and public policy challenges.