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Journeys Through America is a nonprofit organization providing educational material for all school-aged children across the country. The program will form partnerships with local school districts to provide children with a new, interactive, educational experience integrating the history of America and its National Parks. Journeys Through America's goal is to foster a fun and adventurous learning environment that will promote altruistic growth within our children and our greater community.

Saving the Sound of Silence

By Oct 17th 2010 No Comments »

It’s always so interesting reading about new initiatives taken on by the National Park Service to help preserve different elements of a park especially when it does not necessarily involve those elements that are tangible.  It proves to be a difficult task, but an important one nonetheless.

At Zion National Park they are rolling out a new program called the Soundscape Management Program to help preserve that clean, noise-pollution free sound of silence.  The Soundscape Management Program will protect “attributes of sound — and the lack of it — for the benefit of wildlife and the nearly 3 million annual visitors.”  It’s totally innovative, cool and something so very important…and something we take for granted while being at one of our national parks.  You expect a wholly natural experience while exploring the park, what we don’t realize is that something so apparent as silence, is actually hard to come by.

Living in Boston, I am all too familiar with the downfall of population.  Car alarms, sirens, horns honking, and planes flying in and out of Logan airport are something that’s heard every day and night…no matter the time of day, it seems as though it never stops.  Unfortunately I’ve realized that when I shut down, that doesn’t mean the rest of the city shuts down.  What I wouldn’t give for one night’s sleep where I’m not woken up by blaring police sirens.  Having had the privilege of sleeping under the stars and nighttime silence of the wild for two and a half months this past summer at our national parks, I realize that this initiative is vital to saving your experience at the parks.

And it’s not only about our personal satisfaction – having areas with low noise impact harbors thriving wildlife communities.  You probably wouldn’t associate the sound of airplanes overhead with the an animal’s inability to capture its prey, but it is certainly one negative side effect of noise pollution.

At Zion, park officials have been monitoring sound & noise pollution since 2007 for 24 hours a day.  With that data they’ve been able to create sound maps – helping them to determine what next steps need to be taken, and where, in preserving our ‘soundscape.’  Despite it being intangible, park officials have referred to to this matter as being “as valuable as air quality and watershed.”

I would love to see how this initiative pans out  and I hope that this will only open the sound management door at all parks across the U.S.  The groundbreaking steps that Zion National Park is undergoing is hugely important for the future of it’s preserved natural beauty.

 

Treehugger.com – “Preserving the Sound of Silence at Zion National Park”

Salt Lake Tribune – “Sound Management”

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