FREDERICKSBURG, TX – After review by the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) Board, the city of Fredericksburg’s application to become an International Dark Sky Community was unanimously endorsed.
The IDA works to protect the night skies for present and future generations by requiring applicants to follow a rigorous application, which includes community support for dark sky protection. Light pollution remains a problem for many parts of the world, including in the United States.
Recent reports show that nearly 80 percent of the United States can no longer see the Milky Way.
KSAT visited Fredericksburg in May of 2018 as they prepared to submit their application. Fredericksburg, which sits just outside the influence of the bright lights of San Antonio and Austin, had to meet several requirements to achieve the designation. One such step included taking scientific measurements of the light in the night sky. Other steps involved installing LED lights, citywide, that face downward. Many of the city’s street lights were updated, while businesses and residents made the change when installing new lights.
City Manager, Kent Myers, stated, “The dark skies in the Fredericksburg area are important to our overall quality of life. This designation illustrates our commitment to preserving our dark skies for future generations to enjoy. I encourage our citizens to celebrate this designation by going outside when it is dark the next few days and take a few minutes to enjoy the beauty of our dark skies.”
Added tourism could also be a positive byproduct of the designation.
An IDA International Dark Sky Community is a town, city, municipality or other legally organized community that has shown exceptional dedication to the preservation of the night sky through the implementation and enforcement of a quality outdoor lighting ordinance, dark sky education and citizen support of dark skies. Dark Sky Communities excel in their efforts to promote responsible lighting and dark sky stewardship, and they set good examples for surrounding communities.
Fredericksburg joins neighboring communities of Dripping Springs, Horseshoe Bay, Wimberley Valley, and Lakewood Village in becoming a Dark Sky Community.
Texas is also home to a Dark Sky Sanctuary, Devils River State Natural Area - Del Norte Unit, and five International Dark Sky Parks: Big Bend National Park, Big Bend Ranch State Park, Enchanted Rock State Natural Area, South Llano River State Park, and UBarU Camp and Retreat Center.
Information about the International Dark-Sky Association and the process of becoming a designated International Dark Sky Community can be found at https://www.darksky.org.