A Spot in Washington Is One of Only 12 Silent Places Left in the U.S.

                By: Ryan Wichelns

                The most endangered sound on Earth doesn't come from a near-extinct animal or an outmoded form of transportation — it's silence.

                January 22, 2020

                The Hoh River Valley deep in Washington's Olympic National Park might be one of its last refuges. Accessible only after a 3-mile hike away from roads and visitors centers and into moss-coated hardwoods, fern-covered forest floors, and small babbling brooks, is a small pebble atop a fallen log, signifying one of the quietest places in the United States. The kicker? It's only one square inch.

                Black Hole of Silence

                An independent research project created by acoustic ecologist Gordon Hempton, One Square Inch of Silence relies on the concept that if one source of noise can permeate for miles into the surrounding landscape, one black hole of silence can do the same thing, reducing noise for miles around. Designated in Earth Day in 2005, Hempton chose the park for its lack of roads and aircraft, and for its diversity of natural environments — everything from beaches to deep rainforest to alpine glaciers can be found in Olympic, which makes it a haven of natural sound.

                The spot, obviously, is not designed to be completely silent. Instead, the focus is on silencing unnatural sounds — airplanes, cars, cell phones, speech, etc. — and creating an environment where natural sounds don't need to compete. Here, hikers are able to hear the trickle of water running into the nearby river or the flapping of a bird's wings without them being interrupted by the sounds of machines, electronics, or other humans.

                Unfortunately, One Square Inch of Silence isn't protected by the National Park Service or any federal or local laws. One of the biggest silence breakers here is actually the U.S. military, which regularly flies training missions over the park. But Hempton hopes his experiment will lead the way to protection and prove itself a cost-effective method of soundscape management that the National Park Service and other agencies can take advantage of.

                The Noisy Impacts

                Limiting unnatural noise does a lot more than simply give humans a place to relax. Increasing noise pollution has been shown to impact human health in dramatic ways. Exposure to noise can increase chances of heart disease and stroke and damage the development of kids' reading skills. For wildlife, noise can result in hearing loss and the inability to hear important natural sounds (like predators) and can harm animals through increased heart and respiration rates and behavioral changes.

                And according to Hempton, there are only between 10 and 12 places left in the United States where you can find natural silence. Aside from the Hoh Rainforest, he lists the Boundary Waters Canoe Area in Minnesota and Haleakala National Park in Hawaii as two others. The rest, Hempton keeps to himself, opting to protect their silence by protecting their identities.

                Experience It

                Want to know what real silence is like? From the Hoh Rain Forest Visitor Center in Olympic National Park, hike 3.2 miles along the Hoh River Trail, passing Mount Tom Creek Meadows at mile 2.9 and over a series of boardwalks. Look for a giant stilted Sitka Spruce with a hole big enough to walk through. Head through the tree and to the left along a path through downed trees and mud. Look for the red rock sitting on a log. Just remember to respect the silence.

                This article first appeared on Curiosity.com.

                Next Up

                A Life-Changing Voyage to Antarctica

                Take a trip to explore Antarctica. It's not just a physical experience but a spiritual adventure that you won't forget.

                The Black Drink, Ethnobotany, and a Lost Civilization in Florida

                The yaupon holly, North America’s only native plant that contains caffeine, creates a powerful elixir known as the Black Drink.

                The Island of the Dolls Has a Murky and Terrifying History

                There's just something really thrilling about a place with a dark and mysterious past. Take La Isla de las Mu?ecas, for example. An island covered with decaying old dolls strung up in trees is pretty creepy on its own — even before you get to the dark origin story.

                This Tanzanian Lake is a Vision in Red- And You Can Visit

                This picturesque lake in northern Tanzania is harsh enough to burn anything that touches it. Unless, of course, you're one of the select few species adapted to thrive in it.

                Actor Rob Riggle is on a Mission to Solve the World’s Greatest Mysteries in an All-New Discovery Series

                The Holy Grail, the lost city of Atlantis, hidden pirates’ treasure… Riggle is set to take on some of his biggest challenges and most daring adventures.

                Can Coach John Calipari Survive the Alaskan Frontier? The Kilchers Put Him to the Test!

                Earlier this year, the Kentucky Wildcats’ head coach claimed he had the chops to go off-grid, so the Kilchers quizzed him on his survival skills.

                Every Year, Thousands of Glass Orbs Are Hidden on This Oregon Beach

                When you think of treasure hunters, it's typically Pirates of the Caribbean and Indiana Jones that come to mind. But modern-day treasure hunters do exist. In the coastal town of Lincoln City, Oregon, beachcombers flock to the sand in hopes of finding one very specific treasure: glass fishing floats.

                One of the Bermuda Triangle’s Greatest Mysteries May Have Been Solved!

                While filming Shipwreck Secrets, Michael Barnette and his team believe they have located the SS Cotopaxi, a cargo ship that vanished without a trace almost 100 years ago. Shipwreck Secrets premieres Sunday, February 9 at 8p ET on Science Channel.

                What 200 Hours of Rowing Does to the Human Body

                The Impossible Row team burned through over 100,000 calories each from start to finish.
                樱桃视频app在线网站