U.S. national parks are full of natural sounds. In Rocky Mountain National Park, visitors might hear the bugle of elks. At Yellowstone National Park, wolves howl in the distance. Iconic sounds like these are often associated with specific parks, creating unique soundscapes and enriching visitor experiences. When you add human-made noise to the mix, however, these sounds are at risk of being drowned out.
"Anthropogenic" noise—noise caused by human activity—has the unintended impact of masking natural sounds important to both visitors and wildlife. Noise is increasingly prevalent in natural spaces. Not only does this take away from visitors' experiences, but it also has significant ecological consequences. Many animals' survival depends on listening for approaching predators, and successful breeding for some species depends on listening for the song of a potential mate.