Devils River SNA
Clinton & Charles Robertson via Wikimedia Commons

Devils River SNA First International Dark Sky Sanctuary in Texas, Sixth in World

The Devils River SNA is now recognized as one of the darkest places in the world.

The International Dark-Sky Association has officially named the Devils River State Natural Area a Dark Sky Sky Sanctuary. There are only five other sites to receive the International Dark Sky Sanctuary honors, making the the Devils River SNA one of the darkest places on the planet.

"We cannot be more thrilled about Devils River SNA's designation as the first International Dark Sky Sanctuary in Texas," Rodney Franklin, director of the Texas State Parks and Wildlife Department, said in a press release. "The addition of Devils River as the fifth Dark Sky Place recognized in the Texas State Park system is a great testament to our staff's dedication and commitment to keeping the wild places of Texas truly wild."

The Devils River SNA is located in one of the more remote areas in all of southwest Texas, far away from any cities or recreational activity. Home to one of the cleanest rivers in the whole state, it offers visitors a wild, natural experience.

Solitude is required for a site to have any chance at becoming an IDA sanctuary, as any light will pose a threat to the dark night sky.

Four other Texas parks—Big Bend Ranch State Park, Copper Breaks State Park, South Llano River State Park and Enchanted Rock State Natural Area—have been recognized as IDA destinations, all of which were largely off the grid.

"This designation brings further awareness to the Devils River and its surrounding landscapes as irreplaceable resources that should be preserved for future generations to appreciate," said Joe Joplin, the complex superintended of Devils River SNA. "Increased urban and industrialization of the state make it important, now more than ever, to consider how we can maintain what remains of wild open Texas."

According to the TPWD, the Devils River SNA boasts a rating of 2 on the Bortle Dark-Sky Scale, which goes from 1-9. A rating of 1 would be the darkest places in the world, whereas a 9 would be an inner-city sky.

The Devils River SNA's rating of 2 means people are able to see the Milky Way, as well as some additional astronomical clusters.