Dear Crabby, Have you ever been to a Dark Sky Park?

Dear Crabby, Have you ever been to a Dark Sky Park? If so, which ones do you recommend?  
Sincerely, Celestial Observer

Dear Celestial Observer,

I barely go to parks in the day time, why would I go at night. Parks are packed with wild things and the scary ones come out at night — bears, coyotes, wolves, bats, snakes, mosquitoes, and hippies — who wants to deal with all that.

Dear Crabby sits infront of his laptop

However, you know what else comes out at night … stars! I believe that may be the point to your question. The Michigan DNR (Department of National Resources) calls Dark Sky Parks, Dark Sky Preserves, and seem to suggest by their name, that they are in charge of preserving the dark sky. What that really means is that they are preserving an area to view the dark sky without light pollution — keeping the area clean from city lights, street lights, etc. — so visitors may stargaze without those bright lights and to keep the sky as dark as possible.

So, while I haven’t been to a Dary Ski Park, I do have kids and grandchildren who have experienced these places. Between my intense interviews with my descendants (which was me saying I’ll buy them a milk shake if they tell me what they know about dark sky preserves) and my online searches, I have found a few places to check out and few tips to help you enjoy the experience.

The Headlands International Dark Sky Park near Mackinaw City is very popular. On the shore of Lake Michigan, this park is open all day, everyday — that’s impressive — and was one of the first 10 International Dark Sky Parks in 2011. It has 550 acres and is home to bald eagles, osprey, deer, turkeys, coyotes and bear … see, I told you! From the Northern Lights, to meteor showers, and from planets to starts to constellations, all the heavenly lights glow brighter in a dark sky park. They even have accommodations you can rent, but no camping is allowed (probably to keep the hippies out). Port Crescent State Park in Huron County is also popular, and there are a total of eight parks listed on the DNR’s website.

All these parks ask that you bring a red-light flashlight — not a regular one — for the courtesy of the other stargazers. As well as, they ask that you park with your headlights facing away from the viewing area so when you leave you don’t disturb those still looking up.

So if you’re tired of all the so called stars on TV and you want to see the real ones in all their glory, head to a Dark Sky Park. Send me a postcard if you go …

Sincerely, Dear Crabby

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About Dear Crabby

Stuck in a rut? Need some biased advice from a crabby old baby-boomer? Read regularly by thousands and loved by some, Dear Crabby answers questions weekly to life's challenges. Send him a note at


  1. Linda Pannuto says

    Interested in astronomy? Check out Oakland Astronomy Club at or follow them on Facebook

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