News Release

Celebrate Dark Skies at AstroFest 2023 on September 14 through 16

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Date: August 25, 2023

MONTROSE, Colo. – The National Park Service (NPS) is excited to join with numerous partners to celebrate the region’s dark skies at the 2023 AstroFest. Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, Curecanti National Recreation Area, Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Area, Black Canyon Astronomical Society, Gunnison Valley Observatory, Dark Sky International, Western National Parks Association, and Colorado Canyons Association are partnering to offer free fun and educational astronomy programs to the public. Park entrance and camping fees apply.           

Activities will occur in and around Montrose, Colorado on Thursday, September 14; at Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park on Friday, September 15; and at Curecanti National Recreation Area on Saturday, September 16. Programs will include daytime solar viewing, special guest speakers, and nighttime telescope viewing at different locations. Refer to the park website for details, times, and locations.           

“The Black Canyon region has precious dark skies, and we encourage locals and visitors to enjoy the night skies and this year’s festival” says Superintendent Stuart West. Agencies, advocates, and enthusiasts can help protect this region’s rare resource by reducing light pollution. Reduce impacts by using shielded and motion sensing lights, warm color bulbs, and turning off light when not in use to enjoy the resource we share.

Black Canyon and Curecanti are certified International Dark Sky Parks with the Dark Sky International Association. Gunnison Gorge is delighted to be working on certification. The three protected areas are making positive efforts to protect the dark skies over Black Canyon and the Gunnison River in western Colorado for this and future generations.

More information about the 2023 AstoFest and schedules can be found at https://www.nps.gov/blca/planyourvisit/astrofest.htm  

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Last updated: August 25, 2023

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