Michigan has opened the states only International park featuring “Dark Sky” and it is one of only six in the U.S. and ten in the world. With the build up of civilization, many forget the beauty of the sky at night, as most can no longer see it, with the city lights a blazing. One may be able to see stars here and there, but it is difficult to see the galaxies of wonderous light that the night sky has to offer.
Michigan has opened a Dark Sky Park in Emmet along side of Lake Michigan. The property is owned by the county, and experts from the Arizona “International Dark Sky Association” measured the amount of visible light from the stars and deemed it a clear uninterrupted view of the sky at night. The Association was formed in 1988 and fights for the right to preserve these places where one can view the true beauty of the night sky without interruption from artificial lighting. Their website states that they are a non-profit organization fighting for wildlife, and to cut energy waste, along cutting down light pollution.
The land still has a way to go to become an official International Dark Sky Park, but they are well on their way, with the county passing ordinances for outdoor lighting guidelines in the surround areas, that are quite strict. The people of Michigan that pushed for this park feel strongly about the importance of having and viewing of the night sky. Many strongly believe that the night sky with all its constellations is an important resource for all human beings to share. The universe, galaxies and planets that dot the sky in the black of night, was once commonplace, and now requires a park to allow people the chance to experience what those back in the day had every evening.
These parks are a good source of revenue that does not require the removal of trees or the building of structures. These parks have events to draw in the people, such as the telling of stories, party with the stars, and nights set aside for astrological purposes. Michigan is no exception as all of these events are featured, and in keeping with the ‘dark’ theme, there will be no flash photography allowed. Northern Michigan residents know this plot of land as the “Headlands” and are advertising it as such, appealing to the hikers to experience this unique dark sky park. My North’s website is calling out to all who enjoy hiking, to hike and star gaze in one amazing unique adventure.
With backing from experts on the issue of “light pollution” many are finding themselves drawn to these parks to see what all the hub bub is about. Many have seen the photos from space showing the world and just how lit up it is at night. Each year the dark spots on these photos from space become fewer and farther between. The city dwellers are missing out on this beautiful, and relaxing past time of gazing at the stars at night.
By Kristi Cereska