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Steamboat Magazine

Dinosaur Celebrates Dark Night Skies & the NPS Centennial August 24-28

08/18/2016 02:14PM ● By Dan Greeson

A dark, starry sky fills the night above the Quarry Visitor Center in Dinosaur National Monument. Photo courtesy NPS/Jacob Holgerson.

The National Park Service invites visitors of all ages to join in the celebration of its 100th birthday throughout the month of August. With special events across the country, and free admission to all 412 national parks from August 25 through August 28, the NPS is encouraging everyone to #FindYourPark/#EncuentraTuParque for the centennial.

Dinosaur National Monument will mark this special occasion with a ranger talk titled Our National Parks at 1:00 PM in the Quarry Visitor Center on Thursday, August 25. Birthday cake will be served at the Quarry Visitor Center in Utah and the Canyon Visitor Center in Colorado at 1:45 PM.  

You can also Find Your Park / Encuentra Tu Parque during the Skies Over Dinosaur Astronomy Festival from August 24 through August 28. Events kick off Wednesday afternoon with a Celebration of the Sun that includes solar art projects and viewing the sun through special telescopes from 2:30 PM to 4:00 PM on the back patio of the Quarry Visitor Center. Additional Celebration of the Sun activities are scheduled from 2:30 PM to 4:00 PM each day of the festival, with extra solar viewing from 10:00 AM to Noon on Sunday, August 28.

On Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, join the Green River Campground Evening Program at 7:30 PM, followed by Stargazing with Telescopes at the Split Mountain Campground at 9:00 PM. Rangers and volunteers will offer naked-eye constellation tours at 9:00 PM each evening before leading a telescope tour of the sky that includes closer views of planets, stars, nebula and galaxies.

While the skies over Dinosaur National Monument remain naturally dark, the majority of Americans cannot see the Milky Way or other night sky features from their homes anymore due to light pollution. Find out why so many stars are disappearing and what you can do about it at the Documentary Night showing of The City Dark at 7:00 PM on Wednesday, August 24 at the Uintah County Library in Vernal, Utah. Following the film, take an optional walk around downtown Vernal to look for examples of night sky friendly lighting. On Thursday, August 25, a ranger talk titled Lights vs the Night will explore similar themes, starting at 8:00 PM at the Quarry Visitor Center, also followed by an optional walk to look for night sky friendly lighting in the monument.

On August 25, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed the act that created the National Park Service “to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for future generations.”

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of that moment and to look ahead to the next 100 years, the National Park Service and the National Park Foundation launched the Find Your Park / Encuentra Tu Parque movement. Inspiring people from all backgrounds to celebrate and support America’s national parks and community-based programs, #FindYourPark / #EncuentraTuParque invites people to discover and share their own unique connections to our nation’s natural landscapes, vibrant culture and rich history.

For more information, call (435) 781-7700, visit or follow DinosaurNPS on social media.