Meet Colorado’s first ‘International Dark Sky’ community

March 6, 2015
Photo: Dark Sky in Wet Mountain Valley
The Milky Way stretches across the sky in southern Colorado's Wet Mountain Valley near Westcliffe and Silver Cliff. This long exposure is similar to what someone might see after they allowed their eyes to adapt to the darkness.

The adjoining towns of Westcliffe and Silver Cliff have been certified as the state’s first "International Dark Sky" community by the International Dark Sky Association. It's a recognition of their commitment to keep night sky dark by reducing upward shining light. 

The two towns applied jointly and became the ninth community in the world to receive the designation. And at over 7,800 feet, it's the highest dark sky community.

Jim Bradburn, leader of the group that helped secure the designation, said protecting starry nights connects to protecting open spaces, ranches and water rights in this rural community.