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Enchanted Rock gets coveted dark sky status

Pam LeBlanc
pleblanc@statesman.com

Editor’s note: This article was originally published August 12, 2014

If you love a dark night sky, head to Enchanted Rock State Natural Area.

The International Dark-Sky Association recently named Enchanted Rock, along with Copper Breaks State Park in the Texas Panhandle, an International Dark Sky Park, granting both the highest “gold-tier” night skies status. The Tucson-based organization promotes night sky conservation and environmentally responsible outdoor lighting.

The parks join Big Bend National Park and the city of Dripping Springs as the only places in Texas with Dark Sky Places recognition. Other Texas state parks, including Big Bend Ranch State Park in far West Texas (now that’s a dark place if I’ve ever seen one!), have applied or are in the process of applying for the status.

Enchanted Rock, located 15 miles north of Fredericksburg, reduced manmade glare and started hosting star parties for visitors in 2011. Ninety percent of the park’s lighting now complies with the organization’s lighting requirements, according to Superintendent Doug Cochran.

For more information about the International Dark Sky Places Program, go to www.darksky.org/international-dark-sky-places/about-ids-places.