Shhhhhh! What would you hear in Zion National Park if there were no mechanical sounds? That should be an interesting question to discuss as park officials develop a soundscape management plan to protect natural sound in the park.
If you stop and listen in most parks, you'd be surprised at the clatter. The slamming of vehicle doors, the beep-beep-beep of buses and trucks backing up in some of the larger parks, the deliveries being made to restaurants and shops.
At Zion, Superintendent Jock Whitworth says the park is beginning a Soundscape Management Planning and Environmental Assessment Process. The purpose of this plan is (1) to link soundscape management to the existing park management direction, (2) to define the existing ambient soundscape, (3) to provide objectives and standards for future management of the sound environment, and (4) to identify potential management actions designed to ensure that soundscape objectives and standards are met so that natural soundscapes are protected for present and future generations.
The park will accept comments until April on what issues should be considered in putting together a soundscape management plan. On Monday, March 15 park staff will hold a public meeting at 7 p.m. at the Kanab City Library in Kanab, Utah, to discuss developing a management plan to protect Zion's natural sound environment. A second meeting will be held at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 16 in Springdale at the Canyon Community Center, 126 Lion Blvd.
If you wish to comment, please visit the National Park Service planning website at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/zion or by mailing comments to: Zion National Park, Soundscape Management Plan/EA, Springdale, UT 84767.
You can learn about natural sounds and the National Park Service soundscape management program at: www.nature.nps.gov/natural sounds.