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. After many years spent diligently working with and educating the local community, we finally received Colorado’s first, and still only, International Dark Sky Community designation for Westcliffe and Silver Cliff. We also currently maintain the designation as the world’s highest Dark Sky Community.
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.