Colorado Dark Sky Certification Mentor Summary Report- City of Durango

The City of Durango was approved to participate in the Colorado Dark Sky Certification Mentor Program by the Colorado Tourism Office and DarkSky Colorado in December 2022. 

In 2005, the City of Durango adopted an ordinance regulating outdoor lighting to help protect the night sky. Fort Lewis College, located in Durango, operates an observatory. Additionally, Mesa Verde National Park (a UNESCO World Heritage Site and an IDSP) and Chimney Rock National Monument are located within an hour of Durango and host star parties and Astroarchaeology as an essential tourist offering. Within Durango city limits, there are significant star-viewing areas, including The Lion's Den and Animas Overlook, both located a few blocks from Main Ave. 

The City of Durango was paired with Sarah Tober, a consultant mentor with experience in preserving the dark skies via advocacy for community pursuit of International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) certification, to deliver 50 hours of consulting to conduct the activities listed below. 


The purpose of this project was to build a coalition, conduct public education and outreach, obtain and conduct sky quality measurements (SQM), and review existing lighting policy to provide recommendations for improvement. 

Project objectives included:

  • develop a lighting management plan
  • conduct SQM readings
  • conduct community outreach and education


The City of Durango achieved the following results with its Dark Sky Certification Mentor:

  • lighting ordinance which brings City of Durango into alignment with the IDA requirements for certification
  • instructions for taking SQM readings
  • community outreach and education to inform stakeholders on the value of an IDA designation

About the Colorado Dark Sky Certification Mentor Program

The Colorado Dark Sky Certification Mentor Program assists locations across Colorado to advance strategies that help achieve International Dark Sky Place (IDSP) certification and enhance Colorado’s visitor experience. Program participants receive 50 hours of free consulting from DarkSky Colorado to implement activities that preserve and protect access to Colorado’s incredible night skies.