Keweenaw Dark Sky Park officially designated

The Keweenaw Dark Sky Park has been added to the International Dark Sky Places Program. The site joins two other Dark Sky Parks in the state of Michigan. (Photo courtesy of Chris Guibert)

COPPER HARBOR — The International Dark-Sky Association has named the Keweenaw Dark Sky Park the newest addition to the International Dark Sky Places Program.

The announcement was made jointly by the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge and the International Dark-Sky Association.

The headquarters for the dark sky park will be at the lodge where visitors and supportive community members can meet, learn and look up to the stars for inspiration and to get closer to nature while traveling around the top of the Keweenaw Peninsula.

The park becomes the third IDA-certified Dark Sky Park in the state of Michigan, joining the Headlands International Dark Sky Park near downstate Mackinaw City and the Dr. T.K. Lawless International Dark Sky Park near downstate Vandalia, and is the first International Dark Sky Park in the Upper Peninsula.

“Keweenaw Dark Sky Park offers a unique experience to stargazing in the midwestern United States,” said Ashley Wilson, IDA’s director of conservation, in a news release. “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.”

The Keweenaw Mountain Lodge is a 500-acre resort at the top of the Keweenaw Peninsula. The resort is surrounded by thousands of acres of wilderness, while the Keweenaw Peninsula is surrounded on three sides by Lake Superior.

KML’s Dark Sky Park designation comes after approximately a year and a half of efforts that culminated with an application submittal to IDA in April 2021, according to the news release. The application was prepared by a team of KML staff that values the environment, including fostering and preserving the dark skies.

IDA’s Dark Sky Park application process requires applicants to demonstrate an exceptional dark sky resource, initiate robust dark sky preservation activities and provide public outreach and support for dark sky protection, IDA said.

“We are excited and honored that IDA has elected to welcome the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge into the IDA Dark Sky Places Program,” said John Mueller, owner of the resort, in a news release. “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.

“The Keweenaw Mountain Lodge looks to increase the 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.”

The International Dark Sky Places Program was founded in 2001 as a non-regulatory and voluntary program to encourage communities, parks and protected areas around the world to preserve and protect dark sites through effective lighting policies, environmentally responsible outdoor lighting and public education. When used indiscriminately, artificial light can disrupt ecosystems, impact human health, waste money and energy, contribute to climate change, and block people’s view and connection to the universe.

The Keweenaw Dark Sky Park now joins more than 195 places that have demonstrated robust community support for dark sky advocacy and strive to protect the night from light pollution.

Learn more by visiting www.darksky.org/conservation/idsp.


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