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August 2, 2005 5:21 PM   Subscribe

One Square Inch of Silence. Gordon Hempton wants to preserve the natural quiet of the Olympic National Park.
posted by homunculus (20 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
Via Gristmill.
posted by homunculus at 5:38 PM on August 2, 2005


OK. He gets his one square inch and I get to backpack with my dog elsewhere in the park. Deal?
posted by gurple at 5:50 PM on August 2, 2005


He isn't really talking about people making noise by talking, walking, things like that, but our lifestyles creating noise everywhere, by things like airplanes.

I grew up on a farm three miles from a small town in northern Iowa and I could always hear the town sirens (they went off at noon and 6 pm), as well as cars every once in a while, not to mention I could see the small airport's spinning light.

I didn't really care for it that much back then, but having moved on to a metropolitan area, I appreciate my trips back home a bit more.
posted by angry modem at 6:04 PM on August 2, 2005


I don't get it.
posted by odinsdream at 6:30 PM on August 2, 2005


odinsdream: The idea is that to keep one point silent a good deal of the space around it would have to be free of noise too, though I don't know why this doesn't amount to instituting a noise policy on the whole park. Oddly, it appears American has actually taken note of his request not to fly over the park.
posted by abcde at 7:43 PM on August 2, 2005


(As an aside, thanks for the gallery link, I'm going there this weekend.)
posted by iamck at 8:07 PM on August 2, 2005


 
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 8:39 PM on August 2, 2005


One Square Inch of Silence seeks to designate a single square inch of land with a zero tolerance to human caused noise intrusions at Olympic National Park.

How can the silence be appreciated if no one is there to hear it?
posted by ddf at 8:57 PM on August 2, 2005


Very funny, weapons-grade.

(I might as well keep whispering. I had assumed that the one-square-inch was, in practicality, just a symbolic gesture, but I missed this footnote the first time around:
Noise-free interval is the period of elapsed time between human-caused noise intrusions. In wilderness areas within the United States the noise-free interval rarely exceeds several minutes during daylight hours. The NFI at One Square Inch will be 24 hours and the NFI will gradually shrink with increased distance from this point. The size of the area affected and the rate of change in the NFI is unknown at this time.
Sorry for the disturbance. This was a nice link, homunculus.)

posted by nobody at 8:58 PM on August 2, 2005


The coastal section of the park is one of the most beautiful, pristine, virgin, temperate, rainforests on the planet. If you go, take the hike from Lake Ozette to the coast, too boggy to be logged it remains as it ever was,just awesome.(iamck you lucky so and so)
posted by hortense at 9:35 PM on August 2, 2005


When I grew up, I lived 25 miles away from the Will Rogers Shrine to the Sun (and also his tomb.)
They have a belltower that I heard from up on the mountian. At noon they would play a melody.
Today, I live aprox. 3 miles away, and can't hear it.
Too much white noise. Construction has caused the land to prop up like eggcarton soundfoam. All the sounds get bounced away and lost.
posted by Balisong at 10:44 PM on August 2, 2005


Interesting idea. Of course, nature can be pretty noisy itself.
posted by fungible at 10:48 PM on August 2, 2005


(BTW) that is the same road to get to the antenna array for NORAD.)
posted by Balisong at 10:48 PM on August 2, 2005


Hmm. I've never backpacked in the ONP, but my in my brief visits I got the impression that it is a very well-run park, with thoughtful stewards.

Silence in the park would be great, but I'd love a little less cacaphony everywhere else.

The airlines aspect is crucial though. The park space should include air-rights, IMO. Airplanes are pretty dangerous for some of the bird migrations too, so I imagine a legal argument could be made, if a slightly scrawny one.
posted by Jack Karaoke at 11:13 PM on August 2, 2005


Airplanes are pretty dangerous for some of the bird migrations too, so I imagine a legal argument could be made, if a slightly scrawny one.

But do airplanes at 30,000 feet cut down a lot of birds? Birds in general are a huge danger for planes landing and taking off (and airport managers go to sometimes comedic lengths to relocate poorly placed flocks), but does anything powered by flaps fly over a thousand feet or two?
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 12:14 AM on August 3, 2005


More power to 'em, whether it works or not. My granddad was a ranger there for many years (they even named a bit of the park after him), and my mom and her siblings grew up in the Hoh. The extended fam was always a little distressed to see modern life encroaching upon the park.

Thanks for this post, homunculus. Aside from the noise issue, the pictures brought back a whole lot of good memories. (I was born and mostly-raised in Washington but haven't been able to make it back for a few years.) The Olympic National Park is one of the most wonderful places on earth, and anything that helps keep it that way is a good thing in my book.
posted by fricative at 12:57 AM on August 3, 2005


It is awesome, when you can sit and listen, to discover no man-made sounds at all. I can do that at times, here at my house in South Africa. I am at the end of town, with a view over wilderness. It helps that the ocean drowns out some of the smaller noises much of the time.
posted by Goofyy at 4:00 AM on August 3, 2005


Interesting, I've always wanted to move somewhere not too far from town (Boston) that was quiet (at least some times!). Here in Hopkinton we have the Pike, and 495 making a racket of the whole place.

I'm wondering, what does one consider when looking for a quiet area to live? Lack of highways for sure, but is there anyway to find an airway map as to avoid those as well?
posted by parallax7d at 5:11 AM on August 3, 2005


I love the idea of the quiet, but this just seems plainly wrong: "then it is reasonable to assume that a naturally quiet place, if kept quiet, would also affect many square miles around it." Sound waves travel through the air, ground and water, which is why they affect things for many miles around. Silence, by definition, doesn't travel that way.
posted by OmieWise at 6:29 AM on August 3, 2005


Meanwhile, something strange is happening off the coast.
posted by homunculus at 9:04 AM on August 3, 2005


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