By Mark Kanz
Newport Beach State Park is the first park in Wisconsin and one of less than 50 parks in the world to recently be designated a dark sky park by the International Dark Sky Association. The organization looks to prevent the night sky from being overtaken by city lights. Michelle Hefty, manager of Newport Beach and Rock Island State Parks says the clear night sky has always been a draw, but she especially looks forward to an August event where people will watch the Perseid meteor shower.
Hefty says it’s always fun to watch someone seeing the Milky Way for the first time. Typically, they’ve lived in an urban area and were unable to see the stars due to the bright city lights. She says astronomers have known about the park for a long time, but others are also starting to take note. The Door Peninsula Astronomical Society and Newport Wilderness Society were partners during the two-year application process. Newport Beach is a 2,300-acre park, northeast of Ellison Bay on Lake Michigan near the tip of Door County where only backpack camping is allowed.