Chaco Receives International Dark Sky Park Designation

Chaco Observatory and telescope

Chaco Observatory and telescope

NPS Photo

Quick Facts


A Call to Action
Action Item:
Starry, Starry Night
Year Accomplished:

The dark night sky over Chaco Culture National Historical Park is one of the park's fundamental resources. During the summer months, night sky interpretive programs featuring telescope viewing are offered three nights each week, and a guided full moon walk is held monthly at the park's preeminent archaeological site, Pueblo Bonito. This year, Chaco has recruited an SCA intern who will be developing interpretive materials and presenting programs promoting the importance of keeping night skies dark, as well as facilitating the nomination of Chaco as an International Dark Sky Park in 2013.

The park’s natural nighttime darkness, commitment to reducing light pollution, and ongoing public outreach led to its certification as an International Dark Sky Park by the International Dark-Sky Association on August 19, 2013. Chaco Culture is the twelfth park to receive the designation worldwide and only the fourth unit of the U.S. National Park System.