Heinrich Applauds Cosmic Campground International Dark Sky Sanctuary Designation

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) applauded western New Mexico's Cosmic Campground on being designated International Dark Sky Sanctuary. The Cosmic Campground is the first International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) location on U.S Forest Service land and the first dark sky sanctuary designated in the United States.

"The Cosmic Campground in Catron County brings visitors from around the United States and the world to enjoy New Mexico's unmatched wild places," said Sen. Heinrich. "Outdoor recreation is a huge draw for the state and contributes to our economy as a whole. I was glad to support the Cosmic Campground's effort in becoming an International Dark Sky Sanctuary, and I am pleased with their success. This designation will elevate the status of western New Mexico as a true destination for star gazers and dark sky enthusiasts all while boosting the economies of local communities."

In November of last year, Senator Heinrich met with Friends of the Cosmic Campground group members in his Washington, D.C. Office, and voiced his support for the IDA designation as an important step to grow New Mexico's outdoor recreation economy.

The new International Dark Sky Sanctuary is a 3.5 acre (1.42 hectare) site in the Gila National Forest of western New Mexico. Located between the Gila Wilderness and the Blue Range Primitive Area, the Cosmic Campground is situated in an exceptionally dark part of the lower 48 states. It features a basic infrastructure to support campers and offers a 360-degree, unobstructed view of the night sky.

International Dark Sky Sanctuaries are public or private lands possessing an exceptional or distinguished quality of starry nights. Their dark nighttime conditions are specifically protected for their scientific, natural, educational or cultural value, and are often located in some of the most remote and undeveloped parts of the world. Sanctuary designations are made by IDA to increase awareness of these sites and promote their long-term conservation.