Chinati Mountains State Natural Area, located 25 miles north of Presidio, is now included into Big Bend Ranch State Parks’ 2017 International Dark Sky Park designation with the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA).
The inclusion of Chinati Mountains SNA, which is not currently open to the public, adds about 40,000 acres to what is already one of the largest areas of protected night sky in the United States.
“According to National Geographic, 80% of North Americans cannot see the Milky Way anymore and I am proud of the commitment of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Big Bend Ranch State Park Complex to protect our night skies in far West Texas,” says Nathanael Gold, Superintendent of the Big Bend Ranch State Park Complex which includes Chinati Mountains SNA.
“Chinati Mountains State Natural Area is a wonderful place and adding it to the Dark Sky designation was an important step, so we can continue to preserve this special part of Texas for all Texans.”
Chinati Mountains SNA features a rugged and remote Chihuahuan Desert landscape near the international border with Mexico. Together with Big Bend Ranch State Park, the parks house about 355,000 acres of protected dark sky.
Big Bend Ranch State Park, along with Chinati Mountains SNA, are one or the four Texas State Parks designated as International Dark Sky Parks by the IDA.
Other parks with the designation include Copper Breaks State Park, South Llano River State Park and Enchanted Rock State Natural Area. Devils River State Natural Area was designated as the first International Dark Sky Sanctuary in Texas in 2019.
To learn more about dark sky initiatives in state parks, visit the Dark Skies Program page on the TPWD website.