Voyageurs National Park Certified as an International Dark Sky Park

A small island covered in evergreen trees is illuminated by a sky full of stars.  The milky way streaks down the center of the night sky.  Both the sky and lake have a purple and pink hue.

Erik Fremstad

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 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 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.

To celebrate the designation, Voyageurs National Park hosted its first ever Star Party, a three day astronomy festival. Voyageurs Conservancy and the Heart of the Continent co-hosted the festival, held from August 11 through August 13, 2021.

Visitors are encouraged to enjoy these exceptionally dark skies. Park rangers offer night sky programs throughout the summer, at both Kabetogama Lake Visitor Center and Rainy Lake Visitor Center. Please check the park's calendar for a schedule of programs. The park also offers a Junior Ranger Night Explorer book for kids of all ages. Voyageurs Conservancy provides monthly Night Explorer virtual programs, for visitors near and far.

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.

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.

Voyageurs National Park

Last updated: September 11, 2021