Arches is one of four parks included in the National Park Service’s Southeast Utah Group. The other parks, Canyonlands National Park, and Hovenweep and Natural Bridges national monuments, have all received international dark sky park certifications in recent years. Natural Bridges National Monument was certified as the world’s first international dark sky park in 2007. All four parks work together with neighboring organizations, businesses, communities, and land managers to showcase some of the darkest skies in the United States.
The certification does not carry legal or regulatory authority. Instead, it demonstrates a commitment by parks to improve night skies through the use of more energy-efficient, sustainable lighting. Certification also reaffirms the park’s commitment to educate the public and nearby communities about the importance of good lighting and opportunities to work together toward common goals.
The International Dark Sky Places Program was founded in 2001 to encourage communities, parks, and protected areas around the world to preserve and protect dark sites through responsible lighting polices and public education. Arches National Park now joins more than 100 locations that have followed a rigorous application process that demonstrates robust community support for dark sky certification.