Middle Fork River Forest Preserve is Certified as an International Dark Sky Park

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At Middle Fork River Forest Preserve, being in the dark is a good thing.

The natural area in Champaign County recently became Illinois’ first certified International Dark Sky Park. These parks have an exceptional quality of starry nights. Fewer than 50 such parks in the entire U.S. have received that designation.

The eastern Illinois location includes protected restored prairie with native wildflowers and grasses and offers opportunities for hiking, fishing, camping and watching wildlife. Members of the Champaign-Urbana Astronomical Society worked for changes to streetlights in nearby Champaign to minimize light pollution, while partnering with the Forest Preserve District to offer stargazing programs at Middle Fork.

A star party is scheduled for June 1 to celebrate the location’s new status as a certified Dark Sky Park. Find more information at ccfpd.org.

Middle Fork Forest Preserve

Photo courtesy of Champaign County Forest Preserve District

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