In October, Representative Pettalia (R-Presque Isle) introduced House Bill 5023 to add three new Dark Sky Preserves in Northeast Michigan. Yesterday, Governor Snyder signed the bill into law as Public Act 11 of 2016. It designates Thompson’s Harbor State Park, Rockport State Recreation Area, and Negwegon State Park as Dark Sky Preserves.
So what is a Dark Sky Preserve? Michigan law requires that any park area which has been given Dark Sky Preserve status ensure that all outdoor lighting fixtures to be shielded or constructed so there is little to no light interference for activities such as amateur astronomy, stargazing, and nighttime photography.
The Rockport State Recreation Area is located in Presque Isle and Alpena counties; Negwegon State Park stretches across the border of Alpena and Alcona counties; and Thompson’s Harbor State Park is located in Presque Isle County.
Michigan’s Dark Sky Preserve program is not to be confused with the International Dark Sky Park program. They are different. Although Michigan is home to one of the first ever 10 International Dark Sky Parks at the Headlands in Emmet County.