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What we do International Dark Sky Places

Beaver Island State Wildlife Research Area

Night sky’s blue horizon during the moon set taken from within the Beaver Island State Wildlife Research Area Dark Sky Sanctuary.
Night sky’s blue horizon during the moon set taken from within the Beaver Island State Wildlife Research Area Dark Sky Sanctuary.
 Credit: Taffy Raphael


The Beaver Island State Wildlife Research Area International Dark Sky Sanctuary (locally, the “Sanctuary”) is situated on Beaver Island in Lake Michigan, within Charlevoix County, Michigan. The sanctuary offers a serene expanse under a pristine night sky, encompassing 9,195.5 acres within the Wildlife Research Area, and an additional 230 acres at Miller’s Marsh.

Its remote location grants unparalleled views of celestial wonders, including meteor showers, the Northern Lights, comets, and Zodiacal light. With a documented night sky quality value routinely averaging over 21.6 magnitudes per square arcsecond using sky quality meters and broad spectrum photography, the Sanctuary boasts a deeply immersive night sky devoid of light and noise pollution, providing a captivating experience for stargazers.

Spanning a diverse range of ecosystems, Beaver Island safeguards nearly two-thirds of its 55-square-mile area through conservation efforts by various agencies and landowners. Recognized as the UNESCO Obtawaing Biosphere site, the island provides crucial habitat for migratory birds.

Driven by organizations like the Beaver Island Dark Sky Project Committee and the Beaver Island Association, along with land managers, initiatives are in place to protect the region’s night sky quality through education, outreach, and policy advocacy. WVBI Radio Station broadcasts worldwide, disseminating programming and news on night sky conservation efforts.

The Beaver Island Community Center serves as a hub for island activities, offering resources on light pollution mitigation and guiding residents and visitors. Limited vehicle access ensures sanctuary protection, while public access is facilitated with site maps and orientation materials outlining recreational opportunities such as stargazing, wildlife viewing, boating, hiking, and hunting.

Sanctuary lands remain open 24/7, with official rules and policies available online for reference, ensuring responsible enjoyment. Specific rules in connection with dark sky viewing are available online here.


37.2 Sq. Km




International Dark Sky Sanctuary


29200 West Side Road
Beaver Island, MI 49782
Google Maps

Beaver Island Dark Sky Project | Facebook


William Markey
Cynthia Hector Johnson


Annual Reports


Click here to find ideal environmental conditions for enjoying dark skies near Beaver Island, Michigan (45.66, -85.58).