Emmet County’s International Dark Sky Park at the Headlands won the distinguished recognition of the state’s premier Pure Michigan campaign at the annual Governor’s Conference on Tourism Tuesday when they won the Pure Award for 2017. The Pure Award, which has only been awarded twice in the 10 years of the Pure Michigan campaign, recognizes best practices in stewarding and preserving Michigan’s natural, cultural, and heritage-based resources.
“This award helps us further realize our goal of safeguarding the community’s natural and direct encounter with Northern Michigan’s unique and exceptional environment, both by day and by night,” said Headlands Program Director Mary Stewart Adams. “The Pure Michigan campaign is a hallmark in the tourism industry, setting the standard for states and organizations nationally and globally. For our initiative at Headlands to be recognized and awarded by the campaign is really gratifying because it increases our visibility both as a tourism destination, and as a conscientious community, one that holds the protection of our natural resources to a very high standard. ”
The award was presented to Headlands by Christian Overland, Executive Vice President of The Henry Ford, during the three-day Pure Michigan Conference on Tourism, held this year at the Detroit Renaissance Marriott Hotel March 19 to 21, 2017. “We are delighted that The Headlands International Dark Sky Park is this year’s 2017 Pure Award recipient and we hope this recognition helps promote the terrific stewardship and tourism experiences Headlands provides in the Great State of Michigan,” said Overland, who also serves as Chair of the Michigan Travel Commission.
The award itself was custom-designed for Headlands by the artisan glassblowers at The Henry Ford and is a stylized version of the Headlands logo, incorporating silver leaf embellishment over a “dark sky” in one seamless piece of glass that is meant to represent the North Star and the Milky Way Galaxy.
“This award affirms the essential public service provided by the Parks and Recreation Department of Emmet County, and is really a celebration of the entire county parks system. It takes our whole team to achieve such an award, and we’re really grateful to the industry experts on the Michigan travel and tourism committee for this recognition,” said Emmet County Parks and Recreation Director Laurie Gaetano.
The Pure Michigan campaign is funded by the State of Michigan, with an annual budget of $34 million. According to reports released during the conference, research shows that the campaign drove 5 million trips to Michigan in 2016, with visitors spending an estimated $1.5 billion at local businesses. This amounts to an $8.33 return on investment.
“Travel spending in our Emmet County communities supports local businesses and jobs, and this award is a terrific affirmation of how well we are managing the natural resources of our area, both for our local communities and for the thousands of visitors that travel here every year,” said County Administrator, Marty Krupa.
“In June, we’ll celebrate the grand opening of the Waterfront Center and Observatory at the Headlands, and this award will be on special display!” said Adams.