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14 Utah parks pursue Dark Sky Park status


    Fourteen Utah state parks are applying to be listed as International Dark Sky Parks. Above, starry skies in the desert of southern Utah at the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.

SALT LAKE CITY >> Fourteen Utah state parks are applying to be listed as International Dark Sky Parks in an effort to preserve and promote starry nights that attract tourists, reported the Deseret News (

Goblin Valley and Dead Horse Point were recently certified.

Utah State Parks’ recreation interpretation resource manager Justina Parsons-Bernstein said, “The more we get to be known as this giant dark-sky preserve, you bet it will be a huge economic boom to the Utah tourism industry. It’s so important to preserve these areas where you can still see these deep, dark skies.”

John Barentine of the International Dark Sky Association said, “It’s important that some of the Dark Sky Parks be located within short distance of cities to maximize the number of people who can come and see what that’s like.”

Magazine correlates flier stress with shrinking space

Talk about cabin fever: The continual shrinking of passengers’ personal space aboard airlines is leading to stress and claustrophobia for fliers and crew, according to Consumer Reports’ October edition.

In 1985, it reports, the average airline seat was 20 inches wide. Today the average is 17.5 inches wide, even though average passenger weights have gone up by 20 pounds. In addition, the “pitch” of airline seats — the space between one seat and the one in front — has shrunk by 2 inches, giving passengers less legroom. And airplanes are just more full. In 1985 planes were about 60 percent full. Now they are more than 83 percent full.

The magazine has no magic solutions, just a few tips: Occupy yourself with a book or music. (Those who do nothing perceive the boarding process as much longer.) During the flight, walk around every hour. Report unruly passengers to flight attendants; don’t try to fix the problem yourself. If you feel yourself stressing, chat with your seatmates to bring down your stress level.

In essence, just pretend you are not there.

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