COPPER HARBOR, Mich. (WJMN) – Back in June of 2022, the International Dark-Sky Association named Keweenaw Dark Sky Park as the third Dark Sky Park in Michigan. A Dark Sky Park is a land that possesses a distinguished quality of starry nights.
“Here in the Keweenaw we have far less light pollution from human-made sources. So as you travel around, especially in the north eastern tip of the Keweenaw there are very few communities and with those communities they have very few street lights or other sources of artificial light pollution and because there’s that lack of artificial light pollution, it doesn’t obscure the darkness of the sky,” said Tom Oliver, events and education specialist for Keweenaw Mountain Lodge.
The Keweenaw Mountain Lodge serves as the headquarters of the Keweenaw Dark Sky Park. However, the dark sky park is considered to be any public land in the Keweenaw where you can see the sky.
“[The] western shore of the Keweenaw there’s a number of county parks that are available. There’s Fort Wilkins State that has good locations to be available to view things. Just behind me there’s Brockway Mountain that is rising up to the horizon. There’s a road across the top called Brockway Mountain Drive. There are multiple locations along Brockway Mountain Drive that give you nice expanses across Lake Superior.
“To the east, there’s a part of the Nature Conservancy’s locations called Bete Gris. It gives great views. Right now, looking to the south of the Milky Way core. To the south, it gives you good views of the Milky Way core. There’s just tons of locations. If people come here to go skiing at say Mount Bohemia that gives great views of the night sky as well. There are lots of opportunities,”
Every month around the new moon, the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge hosts night sky photography workshops. They also offer a telescope lending program for those staying at the lodge.
“We spend a couple of hours in a classroom with a professional photographer, who talks about how to take night sky photos and then if the sky conditions allow for it, if it’s not overcast or not raining, we then actually go out so people can get hands-on experience and actually be successful in taking some really amazing shots of the sky,” said Oliver.
You can find more information about the Keweenaw Dark Sky Park at keweenawdarksky.com.