The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Mesa Verde National Park was named the newest International Dark Sky Park. Located in southwest Colorado, Mesa Verde became a national park in 1906 in order to preserve and interpret the archeological heritage of the Ancestral Pueblo people who made it their home for over 700 years. It was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1987.
The park comprises 52,253 acres of high mesa that protect a rugged and wild environment of pinyon-juniper woodlands and deep canyons. It is home to over 1,000 species, including several that live nowhere else on earth. It also contains a great concentration of spectacular Pueblo Indian dwellings, including the well-known cliff dwellings.
Mesa Verde’s exceptionally dark skies are an important part of the cultural landscape of the park that holds special significance to Mesa Verde’s 26 affiliated tribes. The park offers public night sky programs throughout the year and is an excellent place to learn about and enjoy the wonders of the night sky.
The International Dark Sky Places Program was founded in 2001 to encourage communities, parks, and protected areas around the world to preserve and protect dark sites through responsible lighting polices and public education. More information about the Dark Sky Places Program can be found on its website.