STONEWALL, TEXAS – National Park Service News Release Date: November 15, 2021 Contact: Vanessa Torres, 830-868-7128
The National Park Service and the International Dark Sky Association announce the certification of the LBJ Ranch Unit of Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park as an International Dark Sky Park. This certification recognizes the exceptional quality of the park’s night skies and provides added opportunities to enhance visitor experiences through astronomy-based interpretive programming.
“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.”
“Although the Park remains in a relatively rural setting, the explosive growth of cities to its east means that the night sky over the ranch is not quite dark as it was in President Johnson’s time,” explained Ruskin Hartley, Executive Director of IDA. “Still, the park leadership has recognized that nighttime darkness is a characteristic of the surrounding Hill Country landscape in which the park is situated, and it has made admirable efforts toward preserving those conditions locally and encouraging similar efforts abroad.”
The park was supported through the certification process by many partners including the Hill Country Alliance (HCA), a non-profit 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. “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. Lyndon B. Johnson 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.
About the National Park Service More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 423 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at www.nps.gov.
The Milky Way becomes visible over the LBJ Ranch as the sky darkens.
NPS Photo / Nicola Gell