(Courtesy Sinks Canyon State Park)

LANDER, Wyo. — Sinks Canyon State Park has been officially designated as Wyoming’s first International Dark Sky Park by DarkSky International, a designation that underscores the park’s commitment to preserving night skies for both humans and wildlife.

The journey began in 2019, when park staff initiated the application process, according to a press release by Wyoming State Parks.

They installed shielded and motion sensor light fixtures at the visitor center, demonstrating the benefits of responsible lighting. The park also introduced night-themed programs, including moth identification and constellation tours.

Skylar Sargent, a maintenance technician, played a pivotal role in retrofitting the park’s lighting.

“Sinks Canyon’s night sky is an absolute marvel. After working the better part of three years towards the Dark Sky Park designation, I am ecstatic to share this threatened resource with our visitors,” Sargent said.

Benefits for Wildlife and Community

The designation is a boon not just for the park’s nocturnal environment but also for the Lander community.

Helen Wilson, executive director of the Wind River Visitors Council, states this recognition will attract visitors, boosting local tourism and the economy.

Amber Harrison, Dark Sky Places program manager, praised the park’s efforts.

“Being the first International Dark Sky Park in Wyoming is an outstanding achievement, and we look forward to continuing work with dark sky advocates in Wyoming,” Harrison said.

The International Dark Sky Places Program, founded in 2001, encourages preservation of dark skies through responsible lighting and public education. Sinks Canyon State Park joins over 200 places worldwide committed to combating light pollution.

About Sinks Canyon State Park

Sinks Canyon State Park, a 600-acre park near Lander, is renowned for its unique geology, abundant wildlife and recreational offerings. The park, nestled within canyon walls, features climbing destinations, campgrounds, trails, a visitor center, a cave system and the enigmatic Popo Agie River.

The park’s unique location and natural protection by steep canyon walls provide an ideal setting for dark sky viewing, accessible throughout the year, according to the press release.

For more information about Sinks Canyon State Park and its Dark Sky designation, visit the DarkSky website.