Monday, March 7, 2011

New Tools Available For Reducing Noise Footprints

According to a report on today's NPS Digest, the Natural Sounds and Night Skies Division has recently published three reference guides to help park staff and visitors reduce their noise footprints.

Two of the guides were published for national park staff, contractors, and concessionaires. A third guide was developed with park visitors in mind. This publication provides educational information and tips so that visitors can reduce noise while visiting national parks (local and state parks as well), and enjoy the unique soundscape that each park has to offer. In addition to ways that individuals can minimize their noise footprint, the guide offers these tips for creating a quieter ride:

• Turn off car alarms and disable sounds on electronic door locks.

• Use alternative transportation such as shuttles.

• Turn off vehicle engines when stopped at wildlife traffic jams, overlooks, or roadside pullouts. Idling vehicles create unnecessary noise.

• Keep car radio volume at a low level to avoid disturbing other visitors.

• Turn off radios and open windows to hear interesting park sounds.

• Drive at posted speed limits (driving faster creates more noise).

• Don’t rev it up! Ride motorcycles respectfully in parks.

Titled "A National Park Guide: Protecting and Enhancing Soundscapes" is available publicly here.



Chuck Allen said...

I don't buy it. The NPS is not concerned about noise pollution.
I always found it interesting that National Parks allowed noisy loud generators to run in their campgrounds and actually built campgrounds (large sites for RVs)that encouraged the use of generators. Also the Blue Ridge Parkway does not permit large and non-noise polluting bicycle rides such as Cycle North Carolina on the parkway but I have seen official BRP escorting hundreds of muffler-less and ear-splitting motorcycles numerous times. What about that ridiculous spectacle of auto traffic at Cade's Cove? I don't see any electric trolleys there offering to give people an alternative to their Suburbans and F450s. I say put up or shut up NPS!

Anonymous said...

Standing alone at Inspiration Point last Summer I was witness to the beauty that is the Smoky Mountains. I was also witness to the far away, but annoying, noise of motorcycles. Ban them.

The Smoky Mountain Hiker said...

Chuck - actually there is a Cades Cove shuttle:

This will be the 3rd season for the service. However, it doesn't seem to be putting a dent in the problem.

I agree with both of you on the motorcycle issue. I don't believe that we should ban them, as they also own the parks, but there has to be some type of compromise on the issue.

There are several points along the Sugarland Mtn Trail where you can hear the din of traffic and motorcycles on Newfound Gap in the valley below. There are many other places in the park where you can hear traffic noise while hiking as well.

What kills me is that the park continues to promote "auto touring". Why?

Here's a blurb from the park website:

Auto Tours - The park’s backroads offer a chance to escape traffic and explore remote areas. A road guide and self-guided auto tour booklets are available for several popular, and a few quieter destinations in the park including Cades Cove, Newfound Gap Road, Roaring Fork, Tremont, and Cataloochee. All items may be purchased at visitor centers.

Ray Anderson said...

I hike to get away from noise and turmoil. The noise of motorcycles and dirtbikes bothers most hikers, but I don't know if we can ban them.

Anonymous said...

I say ban the motorcycles, or at least, enforce a noise law. These bikers have a huge meeting in Townsend every summer or so, and those things are way too loud for the park, and drive me crazy. No way should something that loud belond in the park, or Cades Cove. It's ridiculous what we allow......