The Aigüestortes and Estany de Sant Maurici National Park received recognition as a Starlight Reserve and Starlight Tourism Destination in October 2018, coinciding with its 63rd anniversary. The award acknowledges areas that have, and take measures to protect, dark night skies of exceptional quality and also infrastructure for promoting astronomy-related tourism. This is the first Catalan park, and one of the first in Spain, to have received this distinction, which is granted by the Starlight Foundation.
In 2016, the National Park began the process of presenting its candidacy for recognition as a Starlight Reserve and Starlight Tourism Destination. This double certification has the dual objective of preserving the quality of the dark night sky of the National Park and of promoting the different cultural, astronomical, landscape and natural values associated with it, as well as developing other tourism activities related to this natural resource.
This award process included an assessment of the current state of the area’s night sky in order to establish its levels of darkness and thereby determine the preventive measures required to conserve and improve the environmental conditions of the protected area.
The Aigüestortes and Estany de Sant Maurici National Park, which was awarded its National Park status on 21st October 1955, is one of the most important natural assets in the Lleida Pyrenees. With a surface area of 14,199 ha, plus a peripheral area of 26,733 ha, this natural space is shared between the local districts El Pallars Sobirà, El Pallars Jussà, L’Alta Ribagorça and the Val d’Aran and is one the most genuine examples of high mountain territory. The park is unique on account of the majestic nature of its landscapes and its tremendous wealth of flora and fauna.
In 2017, it received a total of 560,000 visitors.
The National Park is a reference for the protection and conservation of the natural and cultural heritage of the Pyrenees, as well as a strategic socio-economic motor for the development of the local districts and villages of the mountain territory. In 2006, it became the first National Park in Spain to obtain Q for Tourist Quality certification. In addition to the Q for Tourist Quality certification, the park has also received other forms of recognition, including EU EMAS and ISO 14001 certification for environmental management.