Colorado Dark Sky Certification Mentor Program

As a result of HB22-1382, the Colorado Tourism Office and the International Dark-Sky Association Colorado Chapter (IDA-Colorado) seek to partner with tourism destinations across the state that are interested in advancing strategies that help achieve International Dark Sky Place (IDSP) certification and enhance Colorado’s visitor experience.

Participants in the Colorado Dark Sky Certification Mentor program will receive 50 hours of free consulting from the IDA-Colorado to implement activities that reduce light pollution and protect access to Colorado’s incredible night skies. Successful implementation will increase Colorado’s competitive edge as a destination and provide a wealth of benefits for Colorado communities.

Program objectives include:

  • increased collaboration between state and local tourism leaders
  • reduced energy consumption and economic impact from cost savings and increased property value
  • increased local and regional quality of life through enhanced health and well-being, cultural heritage, and sense of place
  • increased awareness of the value of visible night skies and their benefit to local wildlife and ecology
  • increased number of IDSP certifications in Colorado

Program participants will collaborate with representatives from the IDA-Colorado to develop a scope of work that details how they will utilize the 50 hours of free consulting provided through the program. Example consulting activities include:

  • understand how to structure a successful application for IDSP certification
  • foster alignment between local stakeholders and buy-in for IDSP certification
  • understand the requirements and successful language related to local ordinances and land use codes to reduce light pollution and energy consumption
  • facilitate site visits to conduct assessments of local lighting infrastructure and measure darkness levels with a Sky Quality Meter
  • host stargazing or other community dark sky awareness events
  • develop, enhance, and promote visitor experiences related to stargazing

Program timeline:

October 11, 2022 Applications Open
November 10, 2022 at 4pm MDT Applications Close
November 29, 2022 Award Notifications
December 2022 Work Begins
June 2023 Program Completed

The Colorado Tourism Office hosted an informational webinar about the Colorado Dark Sky Certification Mentor Program on October 18, 2022. A recording of the webinar can be accessed here.


The following applicants were approved to participate in the Dark Sky Certification Mentor Program in December 2022:

  1. San Luis Valley Great Outdoors (on behalf of the Sangre de Cristo Dark Sky Reserve)
  2. Ridgway State Park
  3. Visit Durango (on behalf of the City of Durango)
  4. Friends of Browns Canyon


Type: Technical assistance and certification

For: Tourism partners

OEDIT division: Colorado Tourism Office

Program Manager

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