Colorado Dark Sky Certification Mentor Summary Report- Ridgway State Park

Ridgway State Park was approved to participate in the Colorado Dark Sky Certification Mentor Program by the Colorado Tourism Office and DarkSky Colorado in December 2022. 

Located in Ouray County, is a property owned by the Bureau of Reclamation, and managed by Colorado Parks & Wildlife. The park is popular with visitors throughout the year and offers unique and world-class recreational opportunities.  From its nearly 300 campsites, exceptional boating, premier fishing, abundant wildlife watching, to awe-inspiring stargazing, visitors are sure to find something about the Ridgway State Park that they love.  Surrounded by several certified dark-sky locations, including Curecanti National Recreation Area and Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, Ridgway State Park is the perfect addition to an already premier destination area of Colorado for night sky viewing. 

Ridgway State Park was paired with Amy Brandenburg, a consultant mentor with experience in the movement for dark-skies in Colorado State Parks, including a successful designation of Jackson Lake State Park, to deliver 50 hours of consulting to conduct the activities listed below.


The purpose of this project was to begin the International Dark Sky Place (IDSP) certification process by completing a required lighting inventory. The participant also needed to bring together stakeholders for education on the certification benefits and process, and finalize a lighting management plan.

Project objectives included: 

  • create a lighting inventory for Ridgway State Park
  • generate dark-sky quality measurement instructions
  • conduct meetings with park management and local stakeholders, including the Bureau of Reclamation (property owner), irrigation company, and Friends of Ridgway State Park to develop a lighting management plan
  • compile information related to future grant funding and IDSP certification application review and submittal


Ridgway State Park achieved the following results with its Dark Sky Certification Mentor:

  • lighting inventory with guidance on what can be eliminated and brought into compliance
  • sky quality measurement (SQM) toolkit
  • community outreach and education to inform stakeholders on the value of IDA designation, including a commitment from the Bureau of Reclamation regarding ongoing support and involvement
  • grant and funding opportunities to further fund work towards certification

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.