Voyageurs Dark Skies
"I am Fisher, the great hunter. You cannot catch me."
Have you gone looking for the Fisher? Maybe you have seen him in the sky? I'll give you a hint; he is easiest to spot after the sun goes down. Look to the north, and you will find him there. The ancient Greeks called him the Great Bear. You may know him as the Big Dipper. But to the Anishinabe, the Fisher circles through the night sky, bringing warm weather every spring.
For thousands of years humans have looked to the night sky. We have used the stars for navigation, inspiration, to tell stories, and try to make sense of the world. Still today, we can be humbled by the vastness of the universe. With just the naked eye, we can see the planets of our solar system and craters on the Moon. To the north, we can see the beauty of the Aurora Borealis. Looking up to the night sky is like looking back in time. Light from distant stars is thousands, if not millions of years old. Under dark skies, we can see more stars than it is possible to count. We can even see our own Milky Way galaxy.
But as cities grow brighter, a dark sky can be more difficult to find, making the viewing of galaxies impossible in our own backyards. The National Park Service is working to protect and preserve these dark skies at locations around the country. Here at Voyageurs National Park, the night sky is a resource to be cherished and experienced. Explore the park by day; enjoy the waterways and scenic North Woods. But you visit doesn't have to end there. Explore the skies of Voyageurs after the sun sets to see the night sky as the Anishinade did, dark and full of wonder. Maybe you can find the Fisher, or your own inspiration.
What do you see when you look up at the night sky?
Caduto, Michael J. and Joseph Bruchac. 1989. Keepers of the Earth. Fulcrum, Inc, Golden, CO. p. 120.
Did You Know?
The rocks you see at Voyageurs National Park are older than those found at the bottom of the Grand Canyon.