Michigan’s First Dark Sky Preserve
Amateur Astronomers of Jackson "Dark Sky Webpage"
Map 1   Lower Southern Michigan                      Jackson Amateur Astronomers
  Map 2   Immediate Area                               Lake Hudson State Park DNR Page

With the passage of Michigan Public Act 57, 1993 (MCL 322.821-826), Michigan became
the first state in the nation to designate a tract of land as a "Dark Sky Preserve".  Night
time lighting is controlled with the intent of preserving an area for the enjoyment of
the night sky.

In creating the Dark Sky Preserve at Lake Hudson State Recreation Area near Clayton,
Michigan, the Michigan Legislature set up a demonstration project to show that preserving
night skies for enjoyment is fully compatible with management for other recreational uses.

The legislation requires that outdoor lighting within a dark sky preserve does not
unreasonably interfere with nightime activities that require darkness, including enjoyment
of the night sky, nightime photography, and wildlife photography.  Such permanent lighting
as is deemed necessary has to be directed downward and provided by fully shielded fixtures,
with motion sensor fixtures wherever practical.

The legislation places no restrictions on light used by park users, who are asked to use
nightime lighting in moderation, arrive with headlights on low beam, and use courtesy in
dealings with others.

By managing for dark night skies as well as other recreational activities, showing that
such management has positive recreational and use benefits for public lands, it is hoped
that Lake Hudson can be a model for other dark sky preserves in other areas of the country.

Lake Hudson State Recreational Area

Lake Hudson State Recreation Area, consists of approximately 2,200 acres of land
surrounding Lake Hudson. The 600 acre lake was impounded in 1971. The Park offers
a semi-modern campground, picnic area, boat launch, and a beach, with hand pumps and
pit toilets.

Deer, geese, and wild turkey are common, and hunting is permitted in season. The Lake
has some of the largest muskellunge found in Michigan's inland waters. Boats on the lake
are limited to "no-wake" speeds.

Take M-34 east of Hudson 6 miles to Clayton and go one mile south on M-156.

Hints and tips about Astronomy at
Lake Hudson
State Recreation Area

Lake Hudson has one of the best combinations of dark skies and clear horizons available
to amateur astronomers in southern Michigan.

Skies are generally dark, but skyglow is frequently a problem toward the east,
toward Adrian, the closest major town.

Local astronomical observers setting up at Lake Hudson usually use the Picnic or Beach
parking areas, as there generally is less night activity there.

The campground is occasionally used for observing, as it is the only area where 110 volt
power is available to the public, but campfires, lights, and campground traffic may interfere.

Amateur astronomers should remember that Lake Hudson is a public park, and that there
are often other legitimate nightime recreational users of the park present who may not
share a sensitivity toward dark skies.  Your courtesy and patience is requested.  Most
such interference tends to die out by an hour or two after sunset.

Lake Hudson is normally closed in areas outside the campground from 10 PM to 8 AM.
Observing outside the campground is normally permitted if the park manager is contacted
ahead of time at (517) 467-7401

Lake Hudson, like all other Michigan State Parks and Recreation Areas, requires a daily
or annual Motor Vehicle Permit for entry.

Permits are available at the park contact station, when open, or at Knight's Grocery,
1 1/2 miles north of the entrance at the corner of M-34 and M-156.

Annual permits issued elsewhere in the state are also good at Lake Hudson.

For more information about the park, or to get night time use permission, contact the
Park Manager at:

W. J. Hayes State Park
1220 Wamplers Lake Rd.
Onsted, MI  49265
(517)  467-7401

For Camping Reservations Call: 1-800-44PARKS

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This publication was written by Wes Boyd, then edited and published by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources