Dark Skies

Did you know that Michigan is among the best places in the lower 48 states to see the northern lights (aurora borealis)? The auroral oval of visibility is centered on the magnetic pole, which means that northern Michigan offers the same auroral visibility as Oslo, Norway; Helsinki, Finland; and Kodiak, Alaska. However, since Michigan is farther south, night time lasts much longer from spring to fall than in these locations, which are famous for “white nights” in which the sun does not fully set. Dark, moonless nights are needed to see the northern lights, so Michigan provides excellent opportunities to see them all year—including summer. However, light pollution is increasingly an issue—with a rate rising up to 20 percent per year. Scenic Michigan is committed to working toward practical solutions to address the problem of light pollution and we’re working on developing resources to guide communities on the development of better lighting ordinances.

We are partnering with Michigan Dark Skies and the International Dark Sky Association to develop better guidance for Michigan communities. Please reach out to us if you need any assistance developing a lighting ordinance for your community.

If you’re interested in visiting a dark sky preserve in Michigan, check out the following websites for helpful guidance.

News and Updates

Celebrating the “Magic of the Open Road” with Revival of the National Scenic Byways Program

By | News, Scenic Byways

Your support at work! Thank you, supporters of Scenic Michigan and Scenic America. We celebrate the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Feb. 16, 2021 announcement of 49 new designations to the America’s Byways® program, including 15 All-American Roads (AAR) and 34 National Scenic Byways (NSB) in 28 states.  Michigan’s Copper Country Trail, River Road Scenic Byway…

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2020 Scenic Michigan Photo Contest Winners

By | News

We received over 1,400 entries this fall from photographers all across our beautiful state, showcasing everything from Michigan’s inland lakes, rivers, and country roads to our signature sand dunes, starry nights, and spectacular Great Lakes.  Selecting just six winners was a daunting task, but we’re excited to announce this year’s…

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In Billboard Company’s Challenge to a Michigan Sign Ordinance, the Sixth Circuit Finds That Content-Based Commercial Speech Regulations Are Now Subject to Strict Scrutiny

By | Billboards and Sign Control, News

Source Rocky Mountain Sign Law , Author Brian J. Connolly on September 15, 2020 A billboard company’s challenge to the Troy, Michigan sign variance standards–which we reported on three years ago–has now resulted in an appellate decision that has the potential to greatly change commercial speech regulation as we know it.  Two…

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2019 Scenic Michigan Photo Contest Winners

By | News

We are excited to announce the winners of Scenic Michigan’s 2019 Photo Contest. This year, thanks to our partnership with MLive, we received over 2,000 submissions. We are thankful to everyone who participated in this contest. Our judges definitely reported that they found it challenging to select just one winner…

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This Michigan Sign Guidebook addresses local planning and regulation of nearly all types of exterior signs.

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