Living in northern Colorado, we're really lucky to be able to look up in the sky on a dark night and actually see the stars. A lot of people across the country don't get nighttime views like this, or can't see the stars at all.

In Colorado, there are also two areas designated as "dark sky places" or "night sky parks," where due to lowered light pollution, the stars shine especially bright. These two southwestern Colorado locations were made official by the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) – and now there's a possibility that somewhere in northern Colorado could become the third night sky park in the state.

Efforts are being taken by Larimer County and a group of staff members from the City of Fort Collins, to make Red Mountain Open Space and Soapstone Prairie Natural Area in Wellington the next recognized dark sky place on the list. The destination was selected for several reasons, but partly because there are very few buildings nearby. According to the Senior Environmental Planner for the City of Fort Collins, Justin Scharton,

The IDA application is in the final stages and will be submitted before the end of the year. We hope to hear in early 2019 if Soapstone Prairie and Red Mountain become Night Sky Parks.

Todd Harding, TSM
Todd Harding, TSM

With more people constantly moving to our area, light pollution is only going to continue to grow as years go by. Having a location that preserves the darkness is not only environmentally-friendly, but positively impacts humans living in northern Colorado too. However, as of mid-2018, there are still only 100 certified International Dark Sky Places in the world, as the application process isn't easy or short. According to the IDA's website, an "International Dark Sky Place designation helps enhance the visibility of designated locations and foster increased tourism and local economic activity." Hopefully these local efforts will be successful in making northern Colorado the next dark sky place on the list.

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