While New Mexico has long been a destination for dark sky enthusiasts, there had been no organized effort to promote dark sky tourism until the state’s Tourism Department got involved. On a visit to Capulin Volcano National Monument in the fall of 2017, staff members from the New Mexico Tourism Department learned about the dark sky programs there and why dark skies are important. This experience “kicked us into action,” according to David Griscom, who spearheaded the project as Tourism Development Director at the New Mexico Tourism Department.
Griscom says the basic goal of the initiative was to “bring more awareness to what was already happening.” Starting from scratch, Griscom reached out to John Barentine, Director of Public Policy at the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA). IDA was helpful in explaining the levels and process of dark sky certification and ways to promote awareness of dark skies. With five IDA certified sites in the state, the Tourism Department developed a way to promote what they already had: “New Mexico True Dark Skies Trail.”
Read more about from our friends at the International Dark-Sky Association here.