Michigan gets 3rd official Dark Sky Park, the first in the Upper Peninsula

Rigorous application process pays off as this Michigan park receives highly sought after certification

Copper Harbor, Mich.The International Dark-Sky Association (IDA), a group that works to protect the night from light pollution, has named Keweenaw Dark Sky Park the newest addition to the International Dark Sky Places Program.

The headquarters for the Dark Park is located at the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge, a historic wilderness resort where guests can look “U.P.” to discover and embrace nature’s beauty. The lodge sits at the very top of the mitten state on the Keweenaw Peninsula.

Keweenaw Dark Sky Park becomes the third IDA-certified Dark Sky Park in the state. It joins the Headlines International Dark Sky Park in Mackinaw City, Michigan, and the Dr. T.K. Lawess International Dark Sky Park in Vandalia, Michigan which is just north of the Michigan-Indiana border in the southwest region of the lower peninsula.

The International Dark-Sky Association’s Director of Conservation, Ashley Wilson, stated, “Keweenaw Dark Sky Park offers a unique experience to stargazing in the Midwestern United States. The historic wilderness lodge allows visitors to view the magnificence of the night sky in a window of the pristine boreal landscape while also having the opportunity to further engage with the nocturnal environment with astrophotography and lighting management workshops.”

This wilderness resort is surrounded by thousands of acres of undeveloped wilderness and is surrounded by the largest freshwater lake in the world, Lake Superior. The 500-acre campus offers guests unique opportunities and experiences such as mountain biking, hiking, golfing, birdwatching, and of course, stargazing. The Dark Park is open year-round, 24 hours a day. The pine forest that surrounds the park is home to many natural resources and habitats for creatures such as bald eagles. owls. woodpeckers, deer, wolves, bears, coyotes, and more.

John Mueller, the owner of the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge, said, “We are excited and honored that the IDA has elected to welcome Keweenaw Dark Sky Park into the IDA Dark Sky Places Program. It is a significant accomplishment and the Lodge’s dark-sky friendly policies will help foster and preserve its incredible star-filled sky in the Keweenaw. KML looks to increase stargazing and other dark-sky-related activities that are available in the region, and is proud to offer a headquarters for dark sky activities at the top of the Keweenaw.”

This certification comes after nearly a year and a half of efforts and applications. The Dark Sky Program’s application process is rigorous and requires the applicants to demonstrate exceptional dark sky resource, provide public outreach, and support dark-sky protection, according to the IDA. The International Dark-Sky Association has been working since 1988 to preserve and protect the nighttime environment. Their impact reaches 51 countries and has more than 170 designated International Dark Sky Places around the globe, and the Keweenaw Dark Sky Park is now one of them.

Read more about Michigan’s Dark Parks:

See the stars at this Dark Sky Park on your way to Northern Michigan

What to know about the only certified Dark Sky Park in Southern Michigan


About the Author:

Morgan is a senior at Wayne State University studying political science and communications.