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Grand Canyon-Parashant Monument receives prestigious 'Night Sky' designation

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The unspoiled quality of The Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument’s pristine and breathtaking night skies was heralded by the International Dark Sky Association (IDA) on March 21, 2014. The Monument received the official IDA designation as “Parashant International Night Sky Province,” joining other international Night Sky Places.

“We celebrate this prestigious designation which recognizes what visitors to the Monument have known and treasured since its inception—that the Parashant’s flawless night skies represent another portion of the impeccable, cherished, cultural and natural resources tied directly to the management of these public lands,” said Pam McAlpin, Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument Manager from St. George, Utah.

The Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument’s “Parashant International Night Sky Province” designation means the Monument now joins an impressive group of Night Sky Places that spans the United States and the globe. Included in the group are:

  • Flagstaff, Arizona
  • Big Bend National Park, Texas
  • Death Valley, California,
  • The Headlands IDSP, Michigan
  • International Night Sky Places in Ireland, Scotland, France, Hungary, Germany and Africa.

Night Sky Places are sought out by the scientific community, eco-tourists, and astronomy enthusiasts worldwide.

Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument is jointly managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the National Park Service under the Service First Authority. While the designation is not new to public lands management units administered by the National Park Service, this is the first Dark Sky designation for the BLM.

Daytime Astronomy Festival

On April 26, 2014, the Daytime Astronomy Festival is scheduled at Dixie State University in St. George, UT http://dixie.edu/ to officially recognize the Parashant International Night Sky Province designation and celebrate:
National Park Week,
International Dark Sky Awareness Week, and
Junior Ranger Day.

A full line up of activities include a reading and signing of a Southern Paiute Sky Story, “Why the Moon Paints Her Face Black,” and the unveiling of a specially designed art poster created by Dr. Tyler Nordgren. Astronomy related educational programs for children, a variety of information booths, and a chance to earn a Junior Ranger Night Explorer patch will also be part of the festival. For more information, call 435-688-3377.

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