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Fredericksburg Dims The Lights To Achieve 'Dark-Sky' Status

Photo courtesy of Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
Enchanted Rock State Natural Area in Fredericksburg is already a designated dark sky park. The town now hopes to follow.

The stars at night could get bigger and brighter in Fredericksburg, as it works to achieve "dark-sky" designation from the International Dark-Sky Association. The effort by the Hill Country city aims to reduce the light pollution to both boost the quality of its stargazing and increase tourism.

"People can get out and see the night skies and take advantage of our natural beauty,” says Marion Wiggins with the Fredericksburg city manager’s office.

Credit Photo courtesy of Texas Parks and Wildlife
This map shows light pollution in Central Texas. Enchanted Rock State Natural Area, in Fredericksburg, is marked in the center.

To lower its light pollution, the city is replacing streetlights with LED bulbs that face directly toward the ground. It also passed an ordinance requiring new construction to make the switch to LED. Currently, there are only two other dark-sky cities in Texas ­– Horseshoe Bay and Dripping Springs.

Wiggins says dark skies provide benefits beyond tourism. 

"Nighttime wildlife and daytime wildlife could get confused by a lot of bright lights,” she says.

The effort could also further improve nighttime views from nearby Enchanted Rock State Natural Area, which is already has a dark-sky designation.

The city will measure light pollution with sensors that monitor how much light is emitted. Wiggins says it hopes to officially achieve dark-sky designation by November.

Mose Buchele focuses on energy and environmental reporting at KUT. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on Twitter @mosebuchele.