City Cast

Urban Almanac: Idaho’s Dark Skies

Blake Hunter
Blake Hunter
Posted on April 27   |   Updated on June 27
The Milky Way galaxy shines over the City of Rocks in southern Idaho.

The nighttime view at the City of Rocks Dark Sky Park, near Almo, Idaho. (Savana Jones / @idadarksky / Instagram)

Earlier this year, the City of Rocks National Reserve in southern Idaho was certified as an International Dark Sky Park by the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA). The City of Rocks is now the fourth area of Idaho to be designated by the IDA, and the second park.

The IDA recognizes areas where people are making efforts to reduce light pollution and preserve the sky’s darkness. At City of Rocks, this was accomplished through a partnership with the nearby Castle Rocks State Park staff to reduce light pollution to the IDA’s standards.

A map of mostly southern Idaho, with markers over each of the state's four dark sky-designated places.

If you pushed it, you could hit all four of Idaho's dark sky-designated places in a day — or a night. (IDA)

There are five different classifications from the IDA: sanctuaries, parks, reserves, urban night sky places, and international dark sky communities.

You might be most familiar with the Central Idaho Reserve surrounding the Sawtooth Mountains, one of Idaho’s most treasured places. It’s one of just 21 Dark Sky Reserves in the world, and the only one in the United States.

Now that it’s getting warmer, you might be tempted to go see as much of Idaho and our skies as you can. The next time someone — including us here at City Cast Boise — grudges our isolation, remember that this is one nonnegotiable benefit of our lack of light pollution. And let it serve as a reminder to keep your own light pollution to a minimum!

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