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Searching for the Sound of Silence: Finding the World’s Quietest Places
Posted By Wendy Worrall Redal On November 1, 2010 @ 2:02 pm In Eco Travel, Green Living | 1 Comment
In the first part  of this two-part blog series, Wendy Worrall Redal  explored our vanishing quiet places and what that loss could mean for us. Now she shares the secrets of some of Earth’s most tranquil spots.
So, where can travelers go to escape acoustic discomfort  and bask in the purity of nature’s aural delights? Probably not the Grand Canyon, which saw 90,000 air tours over its mile-deep chasm in 2009. Certainly not the Yosemite Valley floor, which reminded me of Manhattan with monoliths , rather than skyscrapers, when I was there this past July.
Some answers to that question remain closely guarded secrets  by Gordon Hempton, an acoustic ecologist and author of the 2009 book One Square Inch of Silence: One Man’s Search for Natural Silence in a Noisy World, written with John Grossman. But he’s willing to disclose one, “the quietest place in the United States,” which serves as the “one square inch”  of his book title. And it’s even located within a popular national park.
The Hoh Rainforest , within the verdant recesses of Olympic National Park in northwest Washington, is where Hempton’s endangered spot of ground lies. Compared to the other 390 units managed by the park service, Olympic is the least polluted by noise. Its shadowy interior comprises the largest roadless area in the contiguous United States. Even more significantly, says Hempton, the park has the greatest diversity of natural soundscapes , from glacier-capped peaks to temperate rainforest to the longest uninterrupted stretch of wilderness coastline in the Lower 48.
The goal of Hempton’s One Square Inch Project  is to protect just this single inch of land from human noise. Right now, the only sound you’re likely to hear at this spot might be water dripping from fern fronds, or an occasional bird call. Hempton hopes to persuade airlines to keep the sky above clear of jet traffic, even as demand for new routes grows.
Where else besides Olympic National Park  might you go to soak up the silence? Here are four more places on the planet where quiet still reigns — and, in marked contrast to the Hoh Valley, they all happen to be deserts:
I leave you with a thought from Mother Teresa:
“See how nature — trees, flowers, grass — grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence … we need silence to be able to touch souls.”
Yours for quiet reflection,
Article printed from Gaiam Blog: http://blog.gaiam.com
URL to article: http://blog.gaiam.com/searching-for-the-sound-of-silence-finding-the-world%e2%80%99s-quietest-places/
URLs in this post:
 Image: http://blog.gaiam.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/HohNationalRainforest.jpg
 first part: http://blog.gaiam.com/blog/searching-for-the-sound-of-silence-earth%E2%80%99s-vanishing-quiet-places/
 Wendy Worrall Redal: http://blog.gaiam.com../blog/author/wworrall/
 escape acoustic discomfort: http://blog.gaiam.com/blog/clamoring-for-quiet/
 Manhattan with monoliths: http://life.gaiam.com/article/soul-city-how-stay-calm-big-city
 closely guarded secrets: http://blog.gaiam.com/blog/is-it-best-to-keep-beloved-natural-places-secret/
 “one square inch”: http://onesquareinch.org/about/
 Hoh Rainforest: http://www.nps.gov/olym/planyourvisit/visiting-the-hoh.htm
 natural soundscapes: http://www.gaiam.com/product/aroma+diffuser+elite.do
 One Square Inch Project: http://www.onesquareinch.org
 Olympic National Park: http://www.nps.gov/olym/
 Gobi Desert, Mongolia: http://www.asia360travel.com/mongolia
 Kalahari Desert, Southern Africa: http://www.nathab.com/africa/botswana-kalahari-delta
 teeming with wildlife: http://blog.gaiam.com/blog/when-does-wildlife-viewing-become-wildlife-wrongdoing/
 Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, California: http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=638
 motorized transport isn’t allowed: http://blog.gaiam.com/blog/five-islands-that-insist-you-leave-your-car-%E2%80%94-and-your-cares-%E2%80%94-behind/
 Big Bend National Park, Texas: http://www.nps.gov/bibe/
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