City of Blanco gets Dark Sky Community designation

Blanco is now the 5th community in Texas and the 37th in the world with the IDSC designation

File photo of night sky (Photo by Min An)

BLANCO, Texas – Texas now has five official Dark Sky communities after Blanco received the designation last month.

The International Dark-Sky Association approved Blanco’s bid — a goal that started as a grassroots effort in 2007, according to the IDA.

“The City of Blanco has always been enamored with the night sky,” said IDA Director of Conservation Ashley Wilson in an online press release. “With their tireless work, paired with the foundation of a tight-knit community and ecstatic partners, their cumulative actions have led to successfully celebrating and protecting the night sky.”

The designation means Blanco, and its 2,100 residents, are working to protect the night sky from light pollution. Applicants must follow a rigorous application process and meet program requirements including implementing and enforcing an outdoor lighting ordinance.

“The process was a long one for us, but the end goal was worth it,” Blanco Mayor Rachel Lumpee was quoted on Darksky.org. “The City of Blanco sits at the ‘edge of darkness,’ with light polluted large cities to our east and south. We view our still beautiful night sky as a treasured natural resource that deserves protection from light pollution. We want to protect the darkness we have and actually reclaim the even more beautiful night skies enjoyed by our predecessors here in the Texas Hill Country.”

Blanco joins Fredericksburg, Dripping Springs, Horseshoe Bay and the Wimberley Valley as IDSC-designated communities in Texas. There are only 37 in the world.

Lyndon B. Johnson National Historic Park, Enchanted Rock State Natural Area and Milton Reimers Ranch are IDA International Dark Sky Parks located nearby in the Hill Country.

“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 effective lighting policies, environmentally responsible outdoor lighting, and public education,” according to the Dark Sky website.

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Julie Moreno has worked in local television news for more than 20 years. She came to KSAT as a news producer in 2000. After producing thousands of newscasts, she transitioned to the digital team in 2015. She writes on a wide variety of topics from breaking news to trending stories and manages KSAT’s daily digital content strategy.