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Torrey receives IDA gold star and is Utah's first dark sky community

International Dark Sky Association awarded Torrey,{ }Utah with a gold star and officially recognized the town settled by Mormon pioneers as Utah’s first International Dark Sky Community. (Photo: TorreyUtah.com)

(KUTV) - Torrey, Utah just earned a gold star for good conduct only 18 other communities in the world have achieved.

The International Dark Sky Association (IDA) officially recognized and awarded the town of Torrey as Utah’s first International Dark Sky Community.

“An IDA International Dark Sky Community is a town...that has shown exceptional dedication to the preservation of the night sky through the implementation and enforcement of a quality outdoor lighting ordinance, dark sky education and citizen support of dark skies," IDA stated in a press release.

Torrey is located next to Capitol Reef National Park, which was designated an IDA International Dark Sky Park in 2015.

IDA officials said Torrey’s dark night status is key to preserving abundant natural nighttime darkness in Capitol Reef.

International Dark Sky Communities excel in their efforts to promote responsible lighting and dark sky stewardship and set good examples for surrounding communities.

“As Torrey joins the IDA family today, together we take a major step forward in achieving an important goal of the International Dark Sky Places Program to join parks and neighboring communities in dedication to preserving their shared night skies,” said IDA Executive Director J. Scott Feierabend in a press release.

With the effort from Torrey residents, the Torrey Town Council implemented an outdoor lighting ordinance, requiring street and building lighting to be shielded and directed toward the ground.

“While those who came before us left us our dark night skies to love, now we leave a legacy to generations of future residents of this special place we proudly call home,” said Torrey Mayor Scott Chestnut.

Engaged citizens and residents raised money to replace the town’s high-pressure sodium streetlights with dark sky-friendly, fully-shielded LED lights.

“My 72-year-old heart skips a beat every time I see the glow of the Milky Way core rising from behind the silhouettes of hills where I know there is no nearby city to explain the intense brightness of this glowing,” said Torrey resident and realtor Bonnie Kaufman in a press release.

To maintain its International Dark Sky Community status, Torrey must keep its night sky through education and awareness materials, dark sky events, exhibits, and programs.

An official celebration will take place Oct. 5 and 6, 2018, at the Heritage Star Festival in Torrey.

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