Wimberley becomes third Texas city to achieve 'dark sky' status

WIMBERLEY, Texas (KXAN) -- Another city in Central Texas is officially designated as an "International Dark Sky Community." Volunteers in the Wimberley Valley, both the cities of Wimberley and Woodcreek, say they have been fighting to achieve the status for the past two years.  

"It says we live in a place, we live in an area where people are very aware of their natural surroundings. You know the big cities are a little bit removed, far enough removed so that we can enjoy the night sky and I think it's just something that we all honor and we treasure, and we want to keep it that way," said Wimberley Valley Chamber of Commerce executive director Kathy Moreman.  

The Wimberley Valley was named an International Dark-Sky community on Monday, meaning they are committed to reducing light pollution and preserving the night sky.  

"When you drive through the Wimberley Valley, you can actually see the Milky Way at night and you don’t have a lot of bright lights and businesses sort of messing with your night vision as you drive," said Wimberley Valley Dark Sky Committee Chair Shannon du Plessis.  

As light bulbs dim, that's when the real change will come. A new lighting ordinance in Wimberley requires people to replace their light fixtures when bulbs burn out and replace them with dark sky friendly lighting.  

...you can actually see the Milky Way at night...

"We're able to convince the International Dark Sky Association that right now the lighting is at a point where we can enjoy the night sky and as time goes by it will get even better," said Moreman.  

Moreman says it only takes a few small changes to make a big difference, especially to nocturnal creatures.  

"It's for the benefit of animal welfare as well as human welfare, we encourage everyone to turn their lights off or at least shield them," said Moreman.  

Moreman says adding motion detectors to outdoor lights would also be a big benefit to the area.  

The only other two cities in Texas designated as dark sky communities are both right here in Central Texas. Dripping Springs received its designation in 2014 and Horseshoe Bay received it in 2015. San Antonio is working towards receiving its designation.  

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