According to the Light Pollution Science and Technology Institute, about 80 percent of Americans can’t see the Milky Way from their homes anymore.
That’s what makes places like Steinaker State Park unique. Although it’s fewer than 15 minutes away from Vernal, the park is home to some of the darkest skies in Utah.
Lesha Coltharp, the director of tourism for Uintah County, said stargazing in the park is a completely different experience.
“The skies are bright. It’s far enough away from Vernal that you don’t get any of the light pollution,” she said. “You can see the Milky Way and it’s over the lake and it’s a just an amazing experience. It’s a great opportunity to come out and visit some of the darkest skies in America.”
This Friday, the Utah Symphony will end its great American road trip with a star party in the park. While the symphony members are stargazing, their music will play in the background. The event is free and open to the public.
“You don’t need tickets, but you do have to pay the park entrance fee of $8, which is per car, so if you can load two people, if you can load 10 people, whatever,” she said. “Everyone gets in for eight bucks that’s in one car.”
Local astronomers and the park’s Dark Sky team will be there with information and telescopes to share with visitors.
“It’s an educational experience, but it’s also a time to just reflect on wow, the world is so big and I am so little, but it’s so cool,” she said.
Coltharp recommends bringing chairs or blankets to the event.