Preserving the Primal Sky

Night Sky over Casa Grande

Night Sky over Casa Grande

NPS Photo/Erik Walker

Quick Facts


A Call to Action
Action Item:
Starry, Starry Night
Also Promotes:
Starry, Starry Night
Year Accomplished:

The park's facility management team, partnered with our concessionaire, Friends of Big Bend National Park, and Musco Sports Lighting, LLC, undertook an extensive relighting project to reduce the light signature from infrastructures. Older style lights were replaced with low output LEDs throughout Panther Junction and in the Chisos Basin. This effort resulted in a significant reduction in energy costs, and is estimated to have reduced light pollution by 10,000%! Reduced light pollution has the effect of giving back the dark to the living things we are charged to protect.

Big Bend National Park is proud of our pristine dark skies, and night sky interpretive programs are offered weekly. The theme of night sky promotion and preservation was added to the park's primary visitor center during its renovation, and appears in publications, on the website, and is featured in the new park film (to debut in May, 2013).

Big Bend National Park received the International Dark Night Sky Association Gold Tier Award in February, 2012 for its efforts. Recognized for having the darkest night skies in the lower 48 states, the park continues to retrofit lights in outlying areas, and promote the importance of keeping night skies dark.