Only the Sounds of Nature

When did you hear only nature – no traffic or other city noises? Increasing urbanization comes complete with noise from traffic, leaf blowers, lawnmowers, high-pitched backup warning signals, and on and on. At the same time, places of solitude, places where one can hear nature, and places of natural quiet are steadily disappearing. In these natural areas, noise pollution can also have a detrimental impact on wildlife. The doubling of background noise can reduce where an animal might hear predators to a quarter of the original area; likewise, the detection area for animals or birds that use hearing to find prey or mates may also be reduced by 75%. The result is a higher risk of predation and an overall reduction of usable habitat for the preserves’ inhabitants.

The PKOLS-Mount Douglas Conservancy has appreciated the natural quiet deep within PKOLS-Mount Douglas; these sounds of nature and natural quiet are essential resources to be valued and preserved. There are many natural quiet locations throughout the Preserve, and we have begun a sound mapping project to document this soundscape.

Organizations elsewhere also recognize quiet as a valuable resource; there is an excellent movement in Olympic National Park to preserve “one square inch of silence” where “noise-free intervals” are measured as the time when there are no human-generated sounds, including airplanes ( The US National Park Service considers natural quiet sufficiently important that they have a Natural Sounds and Night Skies Division, recognizing that visitors come to preserve to hear natural sounds and to escape traffic and city noises; the division monitors tour flights and also takes action on sounds generated outside the parks that adversely affect the natural soundscape. PKOLS-Mount Douglas deserves similar protection (though we have no expectations regarding low-flying noisy aircraft…yet!).

Where is your favourite “natural quiet” area in PKOLS-Mount Douglas?


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