About Us

A Collaboration to Protect Our Night Skies

In a collaborative effort to educate, protect, and inspire wonder in our natural night skies, the Institute of Outdoor Recreation and Tourism has partnered with the National Park Service’s Natural Sounds and Night Skies Division to become the home of the Colorado Plateau Dark Sky Cooperative (CPDSC) and the Basin and Range Dark Sky Cooperative (BRDSC). The Cooperatives bring together local, state, and federal land management agencies with tribal partners, businesses, and nonprofits to celebrate the cosmos, minimize the impact of outdoor lighting, protect and restore natural darkness, and promotes astronomy-based outdoor recreation and tourism.

The Colorado Plateau Dark Sky Cooperative

The Colorado Plateau Dark Sky Cooperative empowers landscape-scale dark-sky conservation efforts and leads the way in protecting natural darkness as a precious resource in collaboration with local, state, and federal agencies, tribes, businesses, nonprofits, educational institutions, and community partners throughout the Colorado Plateau and beyond.

Historic Timeline

timeline of the formation of the dark skies cooperative.


The Colorado Plateau Region is known, managed, and promoted as one of the world’s premier locations for viewing the natural night sky.


The Colorado Plateau Dark Sky Cooperative is a voluntary initiative to link local, state and federal agencies, tribes, businesses, nonprofits, educational institutions, and local communities in a collaborative effort to:

  1. Celebrate the view of the cosmos.
  2. Minimize the impact of outdoor lighting.
  3. Protect natural nighttime skies.
  4. Restore natural darkness in areas where it has been degraded.
  5. Promote astronomy-based recreation and tourism.

The Dark Sky Cooperative encourages landscape-scale approaches to dark-sky conservation and recognizes that civic engagement is the foundation for a shared stewardship of our starry sky heritage.

We invite all who live, work, or play in this incredible region to become dedicated to the conservation of quality night skies by adopting policies, promoting and participating in actions, and conducting educational outreach in support of night sky viability and natural nocturnal environments for the enjoyment of present and future generations.


  1. Coordination & Network Building: Coordinate efforts, communicate effectively, share resources and information, and provide mutual support to the larger network of dark sky advocates throughout the Colorado Plateau region.
  2. Outreach & Education: Assist in the creation, promotion, facilitation, and improvement of the public’s understanding of the benefits and implications of night sky conservation.
  3. Tools, Guides, & Resources: Support, create, and share actionable tools, guides, and resources that support landscape scale approaches to dark sky conservation.
  4. Support & Technical Assistance: Provide direct support and technical assistance to build the knowledge and capacity of stakeholders relative to their own dark sky conservation goals and activities.

The Region

The Dark Sky Cooperative does not have a legal boundary, but is instead a geographic region where stakeholders join to support a set of principles resulting in mutual benefits and the long-term conservation of our starry night heritage.

map of usa with region highlighted

CPDSC Annual Reports

Learn more about our previous work and where the CPDSC is headed.