Forest preserve could be Illinois' first Dark-Sky Park - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

Forest preserve could be Illinois' first Dark-Sky Park

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PENFIELD, Ill. (AP) - A central Illinois forest preserve is making specific lighting changes that have it poised to become the state's first certified Dark-Sky Park.

The News-Gazette reports that the Champaign County Forest Preserve District submitted its application this month to the International Dark-Sky Association for the designation for Middle Fork River Forest Preserve.

The association's website says the Dark-Sky Places Program began in 2001 to encourage communities "to preserve and protect dark sites through responsible lighting policies and public education." The group says there are fewer than 40 Dark-Sky Parks in the United States and just 55 in the world.

Forest preserve district officials have already created a lighting inventory and swapped out some aging street lights with energy-efficient ones.

Officials say the designation will open up public education at Middle Fork.

Information from: The News-Gazette, http://www.news-gazette.com

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