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The Utah Office of Tourism Celebrates Governor Cox’s Third Annual Declaration of Dark Sky Month

Utah Office of Tourism’s dark sky messaging encourages responsible tourism stewardship

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH — The Utah Office of Tourism celebrates Governor Spencer Cox’s third annual declaration of April as Dark Sky Month. Astrotourism and dark sky messaging complement the Red Emerald Strategic Plan, which aims to elevate life in Utah through responsible tourism stewardship. April in Utah has been celebrated as Dark Sky Month since 2021.

Utah is home to some of the darkest skies on earth and currently leads the world in dark sky preservation with 24 accredited International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) places. With good planning and community support, dark sky preservation and astrotourism is a responsible and sustainable form of tourism that encourages overnight stays, distributes visitation around the state and educates visitors about Utah. Astrotourism could lead to an estimated $5.8 billion in spending in the Colorado Plateau and support over 113,000 new jobs in the next 10 years.

“The Red Emerald Strategic Plan aims to spread out visitation throughout the state and the year, not just high season and highly visited places. Preserving dark skies helps communities establish long lasting tourism economies and keeps our places Forever Mighty® ,” said Vicki Varela, managing director of the Utah Office of Tourism. “Utah State Parks, our national parks and community partners have shown tremendous leadership and vision in preserving the night sky throughout the state.”

Further, the Red Emerald Strategic Plan focuses on the quality of visits and manages visitation consistent with local community priorities.

Utah’s 24 accredited International Dark-Sky Association places include Natural Bridges National Monument, the first ever dark sky designated park in the world, all five of Utah’s Mighty 5® national parks, 10 state parks, two towns and more. Visitors and residents can go to for a suite of resources to learn how to experience, enjoy and protect the state's vast night skies.

Article courtesy of Utah Office of Tourism

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