The Grand Canyon is celebrating its centennial. The year 2019 is a milestone that rivals
that of being one of the Seven Wonders of the World. The gift for the Grand Canyon
came in the form of a new honor and the start of a fresh adventure: International Dark
Sky Park certification.
The Grand Canyon is the newest of more than 60 dark sky parks, communities, and
reserves throughout the United States. However, this was not an easy accomplishment.
Certification was a lengthy process that lasted nearly three years.
The certification is a commitment to the initiative of decreasing light pollution, to
increase the night sky star visibility.
There are so many lights. It is difficult, even out west where the azure sky is as
legendary as cowboys and the Grand Canyon itself, to appreciate it anymore. Every
year, it seems to get harder and harder to see the natural beauty inherent in the night
sky. Therefore, the Grand Canyon and other certified representatives outfit their exterior
lights throughout the park, so that they decrease amount of light pollution. This
decrease allows the night sky and star visibility to shine brightly once again.
The official ceremony, celebrating the Grand Canyon’s accomplishment was held on
June 22 nd , 2019. This celebration took place in Mather Amphitheater at the South Rim.
Notable guests included representatives from the Dark Sky Park Association, Grand
Canyon park leaders, an esteemed historian from the Lowell Observatory, and
members of the Grand Canyon Conservancy.
For guests who wish to enjoy the unobstructed skyline, both the South Rim and North
Rim of the Grand Canyon now offer spectacular views. areas of the park. However, if
you are planning a winter trip, much of the North Rim is closed due to weather hazards.
Fortunately, the South Rim, which centers around the Grand Canyon Village is opened
year-round. Some of the most popular areas on the South Rim include Yavapai Point
and Lipan Point. Plus, these areas are easily accessible and roomy enough to bring a
telescope to get the full effect.
Regardless of when what time of year you visit come after dusk and dress in warm
clothing. Even though it is the desert, nighttime temperatures drop quickly, so make
sure you are prepared. Also, remember to bring water with you to stay hydrated and use
a red-light flashlight. That way, you are not adding to the light pollution the Grand
Canyon worked so hard to lessen.