International Dark Sky Community
Blanco, Texas, U.S.
The City of Blanco is located in Blanco County in central Texas, U.S. in the heart of the Texas Hill Country. The Texas Hill Country is a geographic region that forms the southern portion of the Edwards Plateau where West Texas, Central Texas and Southern Texas intersect. The region is known for its vast rolling oak-covered hills, spring-fed rivers and crystal clear lakes created by complex geological processes. TheHill Country is home to rare plants and animals such as the Texas map turtle, the Rio Grande wild turkey, and numerous species of bats. Archaeological evidence indicates that hunter-gatherer populations occupied the region as far back as 10,000 years ago. The historic cultural heritage of the region is diverse and complex, rooted in Hispanic, German and French influences.
Blanco is bounded to the east by the state capital, Austin, and the large metropolis of San Antonio to the south with the I-35 corridor situated between them. Nearby cities include Boerne, Kerrville, and Fredericksburg with smaller communities dispersed throughout. Blanco is neighbored by Travis, Hays, and Comal Counties, some of the fastest growing counties in the nation. As described by the authors of the City’s Dark Sky Community application, the “City of Blanco is located on the edge of darkness.” Satellite imagery clearly shows that Blanco is situated at the transition zone between suburban and rural development as indicated by the density of artificial lighting seen from above. Despite its rapid growth, the Hill Country is one of the most active regions for dark sky conservation in the U.S. – home to Dripping Springs, Fredericksburg, Horseshoe Bay, and Wimberley Valley International Dark Sky Communities, as well as Enchanted Rock State Natural Area, Milton Reimers Ranch, and Lyndon B. Johnson National Historic Park International Dark Sky Parks.
Years-long efforts in the Hill Country to combat light pollution demonstrate a heightened awareness of the value of environmental protections in the face of rapid development throughout the region. It also highlights how dark skies bring people together. Continued momentum of the dark-sky movement in the Hill Country culminating in Blanco’s Dark Sky Community certification is the result of hard work and dedication of numerous volunteers with the Blanco County Friends of the Night Sky and the cooperation and support of the City of Blanco County Commissioners Court, the Blanco Chamber of Commerce, the Hill Country Astronomers, the Hill Country Alliance, and the Texas Chapter of the International Dark-Sky Association.
Click here to find ideal environmental conditions for viewing the night sky in Blanco, TX (30.097532,-98.422104). Don’t forget to plan your trip during the new moon and astronomical twilight to enhance the viewing experience!