LBJ Ranch now International Dark Sky Park
Lyndon B. Johnson Ranch is now an International Dark Sky Park, the National Park Service recently announced. The facility is part of the LBJ National Historical Park in Stonewall.
The certification recognizes the exceptional quality of the night skies above the park and adds opportunities to enhance visitor experiences through astronomy-based interpretive programming, according to an NPS media release.
“Certification as an International Dark Sky Park reflects the hard work of a dedicated park team and an outstanding network of local partners,” said Park Superintendent Justin Bates. “We look forward to sharing our Hill Country night skies with visitors and continuing to preserve this important park resource for future generations.”
The park has made “admirable efforts toward preserving (dark sky) conditions locally and encouraging similar efforts abroad,” said IDA Executive Director Ruskin Hartley in the release.
The park was supported through the certification process by several partners, including the Hill Country Alliance, a nonprofit created to build awareness and community support for the natural resources and heritage of the Central Texas Hill Country.
“The Hill Country Alliance is thrilled about this certification, and we send an enthusiastic congratulations to the park staff, leadership, and other community members that contributed to this achievement,” said Night Sky Program Coordinator Dawn Davies in the release. “Communities in our region care deeply about night sky preservation, and it is so encouraging that the LBJ National Historical Park has jumped into the regional effort with both feet, joining nine other International Dark Sky Places in the Hill Country. HCA has participated in several night sky events within the park, and we look forward to continuing to support their night sky preservation work and outreach.”
The International Dark Sky Places Program was founded in 2001 as a non-regulatory and voluntary program to encourage communities, parks, and protected areas around the world to preserve and protect dark sites through responsible lighting polices and public education. LBJ National Historical Park now joins more than 180 locations that have followed a rigorous application process that demonstrates robust community support for dark sky certification.
For LBJ park operating hours and directions, visit the national park’s website.