Give one minute to save Olympic Wilderness soundscape, pass it on

To all of you who have dreamed of recording natural soundscapes without the hassles of noise pollution, I invite you to visit Olympic Park–sonically the most diverse and rewarding place that I have heard/recorded.  But even here air traffic noise is stealing our privacy.  This post is announces a real opportunity to make a difference no matter where you live in the world.

Air traffic is the #1 polluter of wilderness areas.  We at the One Square Inch of Silence Foundation ( are actively seeking to establish the world’s first designated quiet place—a place in nature that is off limits to all aircraft—for the benefit of people and wildlife alike.

There is an opportunity for the public to comment about what wilderness means to them at Olympic National Park. This information will be used by the Olympic Park  to determine what is required in the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for wilderness planning.  If you have not been to Olympic National Park or its wilderness, you may answer these questions as to what you would hope to find for wilderness experience.

Specifically the NPS has these questions during this scoping stage:

• What makes ONP Wilderness special to you?

• When visiting what activities and experiences are most important to

• What do you think the issues are in ONP Wilderness?

• Imagine visiting ONP wilderness 20+ years from now… what kind of
experience would you like to see?

Comments can be made here:

Historically, the national park service recognizes that natural quiet (the absence of noise pollution) is a natural resource and it will be managed and protected; however, in practice, the national park service has declared that any noise source above 18,000 feet AGL will be ignored in its effort to manage this, and changed the language of its management goals from “absence of noise” to absence of “significant” noise.  This language change has resulted in
standards such as absence of air traffic for a few minutes during daylight hours and the absence of air traffic for 15 minutes during nighttime, and only one occurrence of a single hour within a 24 hour period.  The noise-free interval at Olympic Wilderness (time between aircraft intrusions) has shrunk from  greater than 1hr. prior to 2007 to
less than 20 minutes today.  We will witness the complete loss of quiet in the next two decades unless something is done.

We believe the standard should be fly-around Olympic Wilderness. Rerouting air traffic around Olympic Wilderness would result in an increase of less than $1 per passenger and in some cases would result in a cost savings.

Please comment.  It takes less than a minute and will make a difference.

Forward this to your friends–encourage them to make a difference, too.

Gordon Hempton

Founder, One Square Inch of Silence Foundation.

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