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Black Gap Named Dark Sky Sanctuary

There are still places to see all the stars in Texas.


Black Gap Wildlife Management Area has been designated as an International Dark Sky Sanctuary by the International Dark-Sky Association. It’s the second TPWD property to receive the designation, with Devils River State Natural Area – Del Norte Unit.

“This designation will help preserve the night skies in the Big Bend region of Texas and will serve as an economic benefit to the area overall,” says Travis Smith, Black Gap natural resource specialist. “It will aid in the future goal of establishing a Dark Sky Reserve in the local area.”

In addition to the sanctuaries, TPWD has four International Dark Sky Parks: Big Bend Ranch, Copper Breaks and South Llano River state parks and Enchanted Rock State Natural Area.
Black Gap shares a boundary with Big Bend National Park and is a short distance away from Big Bend Ranch State Park, both International Dark Sky Parks, making this area of the Big Bend one of the largest contiguous areas under dark-skies protection in the United States.

“We recognize the value of natural nighttime darkness and are fully committed to protecting it as any other element of conservation,” says Mark Garrett, project leader for the Trans-Pecos wildlife management areas.

Big Bend Ranch revised its Interpretive Management Plan and extended its Dark Sky Steward volunteer program to include Black Gap. The Dark Sky Steward volunteer program enlists volunteers with experience in astronomy and/or astrophotography to gather observations of the night sky from various locations. 

 TPWD Staff  Earl Nottingham | TPWD



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