Dark Skies of the Wet Mountain Valley was founded in 1999 with the primary purpose of limiting light pollution of the night sky in the towns of Westcliffe and Silver Cliff, CO.
Smokey Jack Observatory
Since our certification, national and international media outlets have covered our story, including the creation of the Smokey Jack Observatory (SJO), where we host free public and private Star Parties where guests can view the magnificence of our Universe through the lens of a state of the art 14-inch telescope.
Beginning in the summer of 2018, we launched a new website and online booking system for groups and individuals to book their own Star Parties and to our pleasant surprise, the SJO was fully booked through the entire summer, hosting over 600 people from all over the country and world. This dramatic increase in tourism to the SJO and the local community we have seen simply shows how much people are desiring to feel the peace and awe found in gazing into our night skies.
Astrotourism is any kind of tourism that involves the night sky or visiting facilities related to astronomy like observatories, and combining that with a broader sense of ecotourism where interaction with nature is what the visitor experience is about.