Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

R. Hazzard

  The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the word “festival” as “a special time or event when people gather to celebrate something.” In Colorado we love our festivals. Here, you can celebrate wildflowers, hot air balloons, rodeos, sweet corn, your favorite beverage, and bluegrass. On the Western Slope, there is another type of festival, and it’s coming up very soon. The 7th Annual Astronomy Festival will be held at Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park from June 1st through the 4th. 

The New Year is well upon us. This is always a good time to reflect on the year gone by and look to the new adventure that is about to begin. By now you’ve probably set your resolutions for 2016. The national parks are no different. 2015 was a banner year for dark skies throughout the Colorado Plateau, but we still have much work to do in 2016.

  • SPMA General Manager retires
  • Delta County releases $49M plan to boost economy 
  • Grand Junction gives $43K to homeless shelter
  • A word with Republican Sen. Bill Cadman ahead of the legislative session 
  • Skiing at Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park 

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
Courtesy of Greg Owens

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park has long been known for some of the steepest cliffs, oldest rock, and craggiest spires in North America. The Gunnison River has sculpted this vertical wilderness of rock, water, and sky.  A grand piece of this wild landscape includes the pristine dark skies.

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
Courtesy of Greg Owens

The Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park is now an International Dark Sky Park. 

"Being an international dark skies park means the Black Canyon has exceptional starry nights [and] an environment that's great for people and wildlife, but it’s also a place where an exceptional amount of astronomy education takes place," said Nick Myers, a lead interpreter at the site.


  • Mesa County DA investigation clears Grand Junction officials
  • Black Canyon receives international dark sky designation
  • Hickenlooper appoints replacement for San Miguel County judge vacancy
  • Wild horse gather in Rio Blanco County draws criticism, group files suit
  • Currently temperate, the political climate in Colorado may be in for a change
Art Trevena

The summer night sky elicits an extra sparkle of excitement when we see the silvery, arcing band of the Milky Way, a beautiful cross-cut view of our home galaxy. 

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
Courtesy of Greg Owens

The sixth annual Black Canyon Astronomy Festival starts today and runs through Saturday, June 20. 

The festival takes place at the south rim of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park outside of Montrose. The event is put on with the help of the Black Canyon Astronomical Society.

KVNF's Laura Palmisano spoke to Art Trevena, the group’s vice president, to learn more about this year’s festival. 

Spring is quickly shifting into summer. For us at Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, this means that the busiest visitation days of the year are just around the corner. Folks from all over the world will soon fill the visitor center, planning adventures into the canyon and asking about park wildlife. Rangers will begin presenting geology walks along the rim and talks out at Chasm View. It’s an exciting time of year in the park.

Black Canyon of the Gunnison
NPS

A new report estimates national parks need $11.5 billion to address maintenance and repair projects. The National Park Service report finds Colorado parks alone could use more than $200 million dollars.

KVNF’s Laura Palmisano speaks to Sandra Snell-Dobert, a spokesperson for Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park and Curecanti National Recreation Area. 

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, near Montrose, CO, is an excellent place to observe night skies free from light pollution. When it comes to constellations, one of the most famous is Ursa Major, meaning “The Big Bear,” which includes “The Big Dipper.”

  • State arks across Colorado host guided hikes today
  • National Parks consider raising entrance fees
  • A discussion with the Colorado House minority leader about the new session
  • The Attorney General clarifies the laws about making hash oil
Black Canyon of the Gunnison
J. Schwartz

A new report found areas managed by the National Park Service received over 273 million visitors last year and those visitors spent $14.6 billion in local gateway communities.

The NPS report found tourism at the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park and Curecanti National Recreation Area had an economic impact of $43.5 million in 2013.