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Environment & Climate Change

Michigan state park dark sky preserves now officially open 24 hours

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Stargazers will now have 24-hour access to Michigan’s Dark Sky Preserves following a new land use order passed by the state Department of Natural Resources Thursday.

Dark Sky Preserves are special areas within state parks where light pollution is limited.

Previously, entrance to dark sky preserves in state parks were restricted to park hours which closed from 10 p.m. to 8 a.m.

This technically left visitors hoping to experience areas with limited light pollution little time to gaze up at the night sky, though the rule wasn’t strongly enforced.

Regulatory Unit Manager Nicole Hunt says the official change raises awareness about the state’s natural resources.

“And in particular dark sky preserves, they’re in some of our most beautiful locations, and so hopefully everyone will able to get out and experience the park during the day but also at night.”

She says managers of the preserves were key to the change.

“While they were permitting individuals to come in and view the night sky they also wanted to make sure that in doing that and allowing that, that it was consistent with what our laws allowed and provided for as far as entry times.”

There are currently six dark sky preserves inside Michigan state parks. The new ordinance takes effect June 10.

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