Nature

Devils River SNA Becomes First International Dark Sky Sanctuary in Texas

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Devils River State Natural Area has just become the first International Dark Sky Sanctuary in Texas and the sixth globally. The designation, given by the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA), recognizes the park as a one of the darkest. It’s also one of the most ecologically fragile worldwide. This designation will help to preserve not only the night skies in the area but also the natural surroundings of the Devils River SNA, which is considered remote.

Situated in the southwest part of the state, Devils River SNA features one of the premier, unspoiled rivers in Texas. It consists of a habitat that features a biological diversity rarely seen, found at the crossroads of three ecological regions. It’s home to a number of protected species of fish, as well as unique plants and native wildlife—even a rare salamander.

Devils River SNA Designated First International Dark Sky Sanctuary in Texas

Photo: Flickr/Scott Cresswell

“We cannot be more thrilled about Devils River SNA’s designation as the first International Dark Sky Sanctuary in Texas,” Rodney Franklin, Director of Texas State Parks, recently told darksky.org. “The addition of Devils River as the fifth Dark Sky Place recognized in the Texas State Park system is a great testament to our staff’s dedication and commitment to keeping the wild places of Texas truly wild.” As Franklin eluded to, Devils River SNA joins Big Bend Ranch State Park, South Llano River State Park, Copper Breaks State Park, and Enchanted Rock State Natural Area as the fifth Texas State Park property to hold such a designation.

Devils River SNA Designated First International Dark Sky Sanctuary in Texas

Photo: Flickr/CanyonlandsNPS

“This designation brings further awareness to the Devils River and its surrounding landscapes as irreplaceable resources that should be preserved for future generations to appreciate,” Joe Joplin, Complex Superintendent of Devils River State Natural Area, told darksky.org. “Increased urban and industrialization of the state makes it more important now more than ever to consider how we can maintain what remains of wild and open Texas.” For more information about dark sky designations and the IDA’s mission, visit www.darksky.org. For details on the International Dark Sky Places conservation program, you can visit darksky.org/idsp. And for details on how Texas State Parks and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department are working to achieve and operate within these designations, check out the TPWD website.