The International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) encourages communities, parks, and protected areas to preserve and protect dark skies by various means, including an international dark sky places program that offers designations for 5 types of dark sky places. The act requires the Colorado tourism office (office) to establish the Colorado designated dark sky designation technical assistance grant program (program) to:
- Provide technical assistance grants to applicants seeking direct support from the IDA for activities related to international dark sky designation; and
- Provide general education and outreach about dark skies and specifically promote responsible and sustainable tourism opportunities in designated dark sky places in the state.
The office may contract with the IDA and the Colorado chapter of the IDA to help the office develop its program policies, evaluate grant applications, and make recommendations to the office regarding which applicants should receive grant awards and what the amount of each award should be. The office is also required, on its own, in consultation with the IDA and the Colorado chapter of the IDA, or by contracting with the IDA and the Colorado chapter of the IDA, to provide general education and outreach and to promote tourism. To fund the program, the act requires $35,000 to be transferred from the general fund to the Colorado travel and tourism additional source fund, which current law continuously appropriates to the office.
On or before November 1, 2023, the office is required to submit a report detailing the expenditure of the money dedicated to the program to the house of representatives business affairs and labor committee and the senate business, labor, and technology committee, or their successor committees. The report must specify the grant-supported actions taken in furtherance of designating new dark sky places and indicate how many program grant recipients have opened and maintained an active case file with the IDA or have had a community or other place certified by the IDA as a designated dark sky place.
(Note: This summary applies to this bill as enacted.)