Support for Natural Quiet/Sounds in National Parks

August 2, 2009


Subject: Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor:
“The Listener’s Yosemite” in your Summer 2009 issue might be one of the most important articles your magazine has ever published.  Natural quiet, and the opportunity to hear and enjoy pristine natural sounds in the absence of “the harsh mechanical sounds of man,” have indeed become exceedingly rare–even in what we think are our protected National Parks.  At an ever increasing rate we are losing one of the most restorative aspects of our nation’s magnificent natural areas.
The National Parks Conservation Association, through the work of people like Chip Dennerlein, Jim Stratton, Sean Smith, and many others, has for a number of years been a leader in the fight to protect these invaluable resources.  But it’s been a very tough battle, and it won’t be won until the American public demands that our natural soundscape heritage–which for too long has been largely ignored by land management agencies–be protected.  It’s articles like Gordan Hempton’s that will alert Americans to what is being lost, and set the stage for for what I fervently hope will be a successful campaign to protect and restore what only a few short decades ago we could hardly even conceive of losing–the peace and quiet of our great outdoors.
Susan OlsenPresident, Alaska Quiet Rights Coalition