California State Parks announced in a press release recently that Anza-Borrego Desert State Park was named an International Dark Sky Park.

According to the International Dark-Sky Association, a Dark Sky Park “is a land possessing an exceptional or distinguished quality of starry nights and a nocturnal environment that is specifically protected for its scientific, natural, educational, cultural heritage and/or public enjoyment.”

Anza-Borrego Desert is the largest state park in California, and typically offers some incredible spots for stargazing. Acting District Superintendent Norbert Ruhmke spoke in the press release to the park’s commitment to dark skies, saying, “We made improvements to our light fixtures not only to better protect the wildlife, but also for our visitors to enjoy the beauty the desert has to offer at night.”

Plenty of stars to be seen at Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. Photo: Courtesy of California State Parks

There are now a total of 58 Dark Sky Parks throughout the world. The designation of a “Silver-Tier” park recognizes the very dark skies over most of Anza-Borrego. But this also acknowledges the small domes of light pollution near the horizon, from the surrounding urban areas of Los Angeles, San Diego, Palm Springs and El Centro.

“We’re very pleased with the outcome for Anza-Borrego Desert State Park,” IDA Executive Director J. Scott Feierabend said in the press release. “It builds significantly on the previous designation of Borrego Springs as an International Dark Sky Community, and strengthens dark skies protections for both. As a result, many millions of people in Southern California continue to be able to access and enjoy a nearby dark night sky.”

Other parks in California recognized with the Dark Sky Park moniker include Joshua Tree National Park and Death Valley National Park.

And at the end of 2017, IDA recognized an area in Idaho as the first-ever International Dark Sky Reserve in the United States.

If you’re looking for some stargazing spots in Southern California, make sure Anza-Borrego is on your list.

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