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Natural Bridge State Park Awarded Dark Sky Status

Dark Sky

NATURAL BRIDGE, Va. (May 4, 2021) – Natural Bridge State Park has received International Dark Sky Park status by the International Dark Sky Association.

Nighttime light pollution is common east of the Mississippi River, and natural nighttime darkness is disappearing, making stargazing more difficult. International Dark Sky designation recognizes areas and organizations working to maintain spaces where the public can see stars more easily.

“With the designation of Natural Bridge and Sky Meadows, Virginia State Parks has a total of four dark sky parks and Virginia has a total of five, more than any other state east of the Mississippi,” said Virginia State Parks Director Dr. Melissa Baker. “The designation represents years of hard work and dedication by the staff and volunteers at both parks. Our commitment to providing visitors with unique opportunities to enjoy and learn about our natural resources is at the forefront of this project.”

“I hope that all of Virginia’s Dark Sky Parks will inspire their surrounding communities to make responsible, quality outdoor lighting a priority so that Virginia can halt and reverse the decades’ long trend of growing light pollution,” remarked Laura Greenleaf, International Dark Sky Association volunteer representative for Virginia.

Natural Bridge is the third park in the Virginia State Park system to be named an International Dark Sky Park. “There are not that many accomplishments that bring recognition of this caliber to the hard work staff put into doing their jobs,” said James Jones, park manager at Natural Bridge State Park. “Our Dark Sky designation is a continuation of the park’s effort to bring understanding and awareness to our natural resources. I cannot thank the park staff enough for the hard work they have given over the past three years.”

“Research points to outdoor recreation as a top priority for those planning a vacation in 2021,” explained Tourism Director Jean Clark, “and we are proud to promote the dark sky status and upcoming Skyline Stargazing events at Natural Bridge State Park as excellent outdoor opportunities our visitors will not want to miss.”

Natural Bridge State Park was recently awarded a Virginia Green Travel Leader Award by the Virginia Green Travel Alliance for their new Children’s Discovery Area.

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