Sangre de Cristo Dark Sky Reserve

Photo by Autumn Brooke Grinath


SLV GO! has partnered with local communities, private landowners, and state and federal agencies to form the Sangre de Cristo Dark Sky Coalition, whose aim is to promote the preservation of our spectacular night skies. SLV GO! has been spearheading the effort by working to achieve “International Dark Sky Reserve” designation from the International Dark Sky Association (IDA). The purpose of this project is to protect and steward the region’s night sky through responsible lighting policies and public education. If SLV GO! is successful in achieving this designation, the Sangre de Cristo Dark Sky Reserve will be one of the largest official areas protected from artificial light in the world! SLV GO! and partners believe this designation will be an asset to the region in terms of human health and safety, wildlife and ecosystem vitality, and the local economy.

The Sangre de Cristo Dark Sky Reserve will encompass the Sangre de Cristo Wilderness managed by the U.S. Forest Service, public lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Great Sand Dunes National Park, and will include parts of 8 counties in south-central Colorado including Alamosa, Saguache, Chaffee, Fremont, Custer, Huerfano, Las Animas, and Costilla counties. The region’s high altitude, dry climate, rurality, and huge swath of public lands is conducive to natural darkness and exceptional sky quality.

SLV GO! is coordinating and managing the Sangre de Cristo Dark Sky Coalition that represents a multitude of interest groups throughout the region who are all committed to protecting our dark sky resource. This coalition was formed with the intent to hold each other accountable in the completion of the IDA’s rigorous application process for the International Dark Sky Places Program. The process requires applicants to demonstrate robust community support and document designation-specific program requirements. The Sangre de Cristo Dark Sky Coalition hopes to help local municipalities and county governments with adopting strong new lighting ordinances and encouraging responsible lighting practices throughout the region. View the lighting ordinance that the Town of Blanca adopted with the help of our dark sky coalition. SLV GO! intends on submitting an International Dark Sky Reserve application to the IDA by the end of 2022.


Want to learn more?

Here are some great resources from the International Dark Sky Association on lighting practices and night sky preservation:

Check out these awesome videos for more information on light pollution!

Sangre de Cristo Dark Sky Coalition Members:

  • Alamosa County
  • Baca Grande Property Owners Association
  • Bureau of Land Management, San Luis Valley Field Office and Royal Gorge Field Office
  • Colorado College
  • Colorado Springs Astronomical Society
  • Dark Skies, Inc. of the Wet Mountain Valley
  • Music Meadows Ranch
  • National Park Service, Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve
  • The Nature Conservancy
  • Orient Land Trust
  • Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area
  • San Luis Valley Great Outdoors
  • Southern Colorado Astronomical Society
  • Town of Blanca
  • Town of Crestone
  • Trinchera Ranch
  • United States Fish and Wildlife Service, Alamosa National Wildlife Refuge and Baca National Wildlife Refuge
  • United States Forest Service, Rio Grande National Forest and San Isabel National Forest
  • Visit Alamosa
  • Way of Nature