GNAR Toolkit

The GNAR Community Online Toolkit is designed to be a resource for planners, public officials, community members, consultants, and all others who are working in communities with access to significant natural amenities and recreation opportunities. This toolkit provides resources, case studies, model ordinances, and other tools to help GNAR communities plan for and respond to the unique planning, transportation, economic, community development, and sustainability challenges and opportunities they face. The toolkit is a living resource; it will grow and adapt in order to provide the most useful and up-to-date information possible.

Have ideas for topics we should address, thoughts about tools we should link to or develop, or suggestions for how to improve the toolkit? Add them to our list!
You can use the toolkit to share your case studies, resources, and lessons learned, just email them to:


International Dark-Sky Association (IDA)

The IDA is the leader in mitigating the effects of harmful light pollution globally. Their website provides valuable insights, tools, and case studies for starting a local dark skies group, for educating the public about light pollution and its effects, for creating an exterior lighting ordinance, and for receiving international recognition as a dark sky place. They also maintain the up-to-date Artificial Light at Night (ALAN) database of academic literature dedicated to the study of light pollution and its effects.

Colorado Plateau Dark Sky Cooperative

The Colorado Plateau Dark Sky Cooperative was established with support from the National Park Service to “link communities, tribes, businesses, state agencies, federal agencies, and citizens in a collaborative effort to celebrate the view of the cosmos, minimize the impact of outdoor lighting, and ultimately restore natural darkness” on the Colorado Plateau in the Four Corners region of Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona. The website provides materials for educating the public featuring videos, photos, brochures, postcards, pamphlets, and other resources. The website also compiles news related to dark sky efforts on the Colorado Plateau.

The Consortium for Dark Sky Studies (CDSS)

The CDSS is affiliated with the University of Utah and is the first educational center dedicated to studying the night sky and light pollution. The Consortium has been involved in conducting exterior lighting assessments for various communities and counties throughout the western United States. The website contains cultural materials related to the night sky and promotes the application of dark sky knowledge across a wide range of disciplines and professional fields.

Utah Community Development Office

The State of Utah’s Community Development Office has launched a suite of dark sky tools and resources intended to help decision makers, community leaders, and residents understand the value of dark skies, address their concerns with light pollution, and provide important guidelines and best practices for preserving their night skies. This dark sky toolkit includes a Dark Sky Assessment Guide and Dark Sky Planning Guide. The Dark Sky Assessment Guide is a step-by-step worksheet for community leaders, maintenance crews, and local residents to utilize in assessing their own exterior lighting. The Dark Sky Planning Guide offers an in-depth introduction to dark skies for local leaders and includes guidance, best practices, and examples of dark sky efforts throughout the state of Utah.

National Parks Service (NPS) Dark Skies

The effort to protect the night sky in the United States largely began in the national parks. NPS maintains its dark skies website with updated news and events along with resources related to its own efforts. It also provides information on managing lightscapes and insights into why the night sky matters on a natural, cultural, and economic level.

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