Delicate Arch as seen at at night. Arches National Park's new designation recognizes the park’s “quality night skies and a commitment to protecting and sharing natural darkness.” (Photo: Adam Springer/Getty Images/iStockphoto)

ARCHES NATIONAL PARK, Utah – Arches National Park in southern Utah is now certified as an International Dark Sky Park.

The National Park Service and the International Dark-Sky Association said in a joint announcement Friday that the designation recognizes the park’s “quality night skies and a commitment to protecting and sharing natural darkness.

According to the group’s website, an IDA International Dark Sky Park (IDSP) is a “land possessing an exceptional or distinguished quality of starry nights and a nocturnal environment that is specifically protected for its scientific, natural, educational, cultural heritage, and/or public enjoyment.” 

Steps taken by park officials to receive the designation include replacing light fixtures with fully-shielded bulbs to minimize glare and light emissions.

According to the announcement, the designation will help Arches grow astronomy programs and encourages astronomy-based tourism in nearby communities.

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