By Kaylynn Roberts-McMurray

Times Staff

National Parks Conservation Association working to promote Tourism in Ely. The Great Basin National Park held their seventh annual Astronomy Festival. The three day festival brought in 400-500 visitors a day. There was a wide range of visitors that included tourists young and old, a bus from the preparatory Academy from St. George with young students, and families from all over the United States who camped out making it a weekend adventure to a park recently designated as an International Dark Sky Park. Dr. Anil Seth, an Assistant Professor in the Physics & Astronomy Department at the University of Utah was the keynote speaker on last Friday evening. The night was clear, and thousands of stars, star clusters, the Milky Way and the Andromeda Galaxy could be seen with the naked eye. Several telescopes were set up for viewing of the several different planets. Lynn Davis with the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) has been working closely with the Tourism Committee, White Pine Chamber of Commerce and owners in the hotel and motel industry here locally to promote Ely as a “Gateway” to Great Basin National Park. Several locals participated in a Tail Gate party hosted by the Hotel Nevada with wine donated by Grape Expectations. A bus was chartered by the NPCA for locals to experience the festival and discuss ways to promote activities here in the Ely. Donna Bath who is part of the Tourism Committee said  “We are hoping that this trip will serve as an example to our Community and Hotel/Motel industry that there could be a market for local tours and also encourage the 160,000 annual visitors to spend some additional time in our community when they visit Great Basin National Park”.10-13-astronmy-festival1