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Texas Public Venues Get Dark Sky Designations in Preserving Natural Beauty of the Night Sky

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Stargazing can be such a sweet celestial experience, and in Texas, even more so. A number of places throughout the state help to magnify the opportunity to see those big and bright beauties even more, as designated International Dark Sky Parks.

Texas Public Venues Get Dark Sky Designations In Preserving Natural Beauty of the Night Sky

Photo: Facebook/Pat Cassity

The International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) out of Tucson, AZ promotes night sky observation and conservation, along with environmentally friendly and responsible outdoor lighting in efforts to protect against light pollution. The Texas Hill Country’s own Enchanted Rock State Natural Area, as well as the Panhandle’s Copper Breaks State Park became the first of Texas’ state parks to be designated International Dark Sky Parks by the organization which gave them its highest, Gold-Tier status. Prior to that, Big Bend National Park, as well as the City of Dripping Springs also earned recognition from the IDA which is phenomenal for their Texas Night Sky Festival that took place earlier this month.

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Texas Public Venues Get Dark Sky Designations In Preserving Natural Beauty of the Night Sky

Photo: Facebook/The Nousgroup

Over the years, Enchanted Rock and Copper Breaks have held regular star-gazing events and programs, engaging and educating the public regarding the concept of minimizing light pollution and preserving the night skies. Doing so makes the viewing of stars, constellations, planets, and other celestial objects possible. Rapidly becoming a national example in this movement, these parks and communities, as well as their staff, are dedicated to taking significant steps as well as educating policymakers on the value of preserving this fine Texas feature. This includes the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department which has developed light management plans and policies to address light pollution in at least 95 state parks, including partnering with the McDonald Observatory and the state’s chapter of the IDA to implement these policies.

Texas Public Venues Get Dark Sky Designations In Preserving Natural Beauty of the Night Sky

Photo: Facebook/Todd Ehrlich

To learn more about the Dark Skies Program through the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, visit their program link provided here. Enchanted Rock State Natural Area continues its efforts to reduce manmade glare which also benefits the star parties that are held there on a regular basis. They’ve further capitalized on this natural Texas wonder by ensuring their lighting complies with IDA lighting guidelines, both saving energy and reducing light pollution to the benefit of enhanced night sky viewing opportunities for visitors. And Copper Breaks State Park in the Panhandle has been hosting star walks together with a number of astronomy programs for at least 20 years – ensuring one of Texas’ most valuable assets is not only preserved but enjoyed by many for years to come.

Sources:

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

Enchanted Rock State Natural Area

Copper Breaks State Park

Dripping Springs