RAMAH, N.M. -- A national monument in western New Mexico that's home to more than 2,000 inscriptions and petroglyphs on a towering sandstone bluff has earned recognition as an International Dark Sky Park.
Officials at El Morro National Monument say they're planning to host more programs in 2020 that will highlight the area's spectacular night skies.
The International Dark Sky Places Program was founded in 2001 to encourage communities, parks and protected areas around the world to preserve and protect dark sites through responsible lighting polices and public education. There are now more than 100 locations that have followed a rigorous application process for dark sky certification.
El Morro Superintendent Kelby Fuhrmann said the monument is grateful for the support it has received from the community to ensure light pollution is limited. El Morro is surrounded by ranch land and national forest about 120 miles (193 kilometers) west of Albuquerque.
“This certification is the perfect marriage of technology and education,” Fuhrmann said. "National parks are some of the best places in America to see a breathtaking array of stars, planets and neighboring galaxies.”
The certification doesn't carry any legal or regulatory authority but rather demonstrates a commitment to improve night skies through the use of more energy efficient, sustainable lighting.