International Falls, MN: Voyageurs National Park (VNP), Voyageurs Conservancy (VC), 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 the park’s commitment to preserving darkness and educating the public about this outstanding resource.
“We are very proud of Voyageurs National Park’s achievement in becoming an International Dark Sky Park,” said IDA Executive Director, Ruskin Hartley. “Their commitment to protecting their naturally dark skies is commendable.”
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. To learn more about the Conservancy and NSNSD, go to www.voyageurs.org and Natural Sounds and Night Skies Division (U.S. National Park Service) (nps.gov). Additionally, in cooperation with Voyageurs Conservancy, staff from the park will conduct annual meter readings and educational opportunities to monitor our on-going dark sky quality and encourage others to minimize impacts by taking simple steps.
“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.”
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 will celebrate with a virtual program on the Geminid meteor shower hosted by Astro Bob on December 8, 2020, from 4-4:30 PM CST. The park also offers a Junior Ranger Night Explorer book for kids of all ages that can be found at www.voyageurs.org/juniorrangers.
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 promoting environmentally responsible outdoor lighting. They established the International Dark Sky Places Program in 2001 to encourage the protection of natural dark night skies around the globe through responsible lighting policies and public outreach and education. You can find more information about IDA and its mission at darksky.org. Find more information about night skies in national parks. Check out the Voyageurs Night Skies – Voyageurs National Park (U.S. National Park Service) (nps.gov) page to learn about the 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.