Voyageurs National Park, Voyageurs Conservancy, and the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) are pleased to announce the certification of Voyageurs National Park as an International Dark Sky Park. This certification recognizes Voyageurs National Park for the exceptional quality of its dark night skies and for the park’s commitment to preserving darkness and educating the public about this outstanding resource.
“Voyageurs National Park has some of the darkest skies in the Midwest,” stated Park Superintendent, Bob DeGross. “We invite visitors to experience our spectacular night sky resource for themselves, winter or summer.”
To qualify as an International Dark Sky Park, Voyageurs’ staff developed a comprehensive Lighting Management Plan which identifies how the park will minimize impacts to the natural night by retrofitting existing exterior lighting at park facilities. This planning document was completed in conjunction, with the National Park Service’s Natural Sounds and Night Sky Division (NSNSD) and through the generous contributions by members of the Voyageurs Conservancy. Additionally, staff from the park, in cooperation with Voyageurs Conservancy, will conduct annual meter readings and educational opportunities to monitor our on-going dark sky quality and to encourage others to minimize impacts by taking simple steps.
The designation is part of an international effort to to earn Dark Sky certifications for Quetico and LaVerendrye Provincial Parks as well, according to the Quetico Superior Foundation’s website. Quetico Provincial Park’s application is currently being considered by the International Dark Sky Association, it says. Improvements, such as the changing of light bulbs, are underway, and an announcement is expected within a few months. Meeting the criteria could take more than a year for LaVerendrye.
Voyageurs National Park and Voyageurs Conservancy will celebrate the certification achievement with programs at the park when we are able to gather again. In the meantime, the park and Voyageurs Conservancy celebrated with a virtual program on the Geminids meteor shower hosted by Astro Bob held on December 8. The park also offers a Junior Ranger Night Explorer book for kids of all ages.
The International Dark-Sky Association advocates for the protection of the nighttime environment and dark night skies by educating the public about night sky conservation and by promoting environmentally responsible outdoor lighting. More information about IDA and its mission may be found at DarkSky.org. Find more information about night skies in national parks. Check out the Voyageurs Night Skies – Voyageurs National Park page to learn about nighttime exploration opportunities at Voyageurs National Park.
The certification does not carry any legal or regulatory authority. The certification demonstrates a commitment by parks to improve night skies through the use of more energy efficient, sustainable lighting. Certification also reaffirms our commitment to educate the public and gateway communities about the importance of park-friendly, outdoor lighting and opportunities to work together toward common goals.