The Cosmic Campground International Dark Sky Sanctuary located on the Gila National Forest was selected by the International Dark Sky Association to be the first International Dark Sky Sanctuary in the northern hemisphere. It received this designation for being in one of the few locations in the lower 48 U.S. States which has a natural dark night sky.
Situated between the Gila Wilderness and the Blue Range Primitive Area, it is located on land managed by the United States Forest Service. The Campground is located in an exceptionally dark part of the lower 48 U.S. states, with the nearest significant source of artificial light more than 65 kilometers away across the state line in Arizona. The Campground features a very basic infrastructure to support campers and offers a 360-degree, unobstructed, view of the night sky. ‘This campsite has very dark skies, where the milky way can be seen in rich, strong color, and the sky is crowded with stars. Only a small dome of light pollution near the SW horizon.’
Chelynne Campion is a Production/ Sales Assistant for EarthSky. Her family just purchased a telescope, and she's now learning to be a stargazer!