Saguaro National Park earns urban dark sky designation

By Tori Gantz
Published: Tuesday, November 14, 2023 - 5:57pm

Saguaro Cactus Forest
Saguaro Cactus Forest in Saguaro National Park, outside of Tucson.

Saguaro National Park is joining eight other Urban Night Sky Places around the world.

The park protects nearly 100,000 acres of Sonoran Desert habitat east and west of Tucson.

For years, its staff have been working with city and Pima County officials to implement a lighting management plan to support night sky conservation. It must meet five principles of responsible outdoor lighting.

Amber Harrison is with DarkSky International, which combats light pollution.

“That will ensure that a visitor can go to Saguaro National Park and not see, you know, major glare from other properties, neighboring properties or from any of the infrastructure on site,” she said. "It’s not about turning off the lights, it’s about using the right kind of lighting."

Harrison said this program is working to improve glare in the night sky, a product of urban development in cities.

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