Taking Time To Listen To Nature in the National Parks

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The Boardwalk Loop in Congaree National Park is a great place to just stop and listen to nature. Photo by Kurt Repanshek.

When was the last time you paused during a hike in a national park to simply stand there, take in the beauty, and listen to nature?

During a trip to Congaree National Park back in June I was able to do that with Bob Janiskee and Jim Burnett, and the three of us just stood quietly on the Boardwalk Loop and marveled in the sounds of that can be heard.

Silence truly is golden ... if you're able to filter out today's anthropogenic noise and listen to nature.


National parks are places we seek out for relaxation, recreation and, if we’re lucky, some rejuvenation.

You can spend a morning, an afternoon, or the entire day hiking through forests and over mountains. You can explore boardwalks that meander through wetlands, course through rainforests, and, if in Yellowstone, even cross geyser basins.

And sometimes it pays to just stop and listen, for in many of our parks the silence truly is golden. Birds chirp, insects buzz, streams gurgle, and sometimes you can even hear an elk bugle or a wolf howl.

But as I recently discovered during a walk in Congaree National Park in South Carolina, the sounds of nature are easily overcome by us and our contraptions.

Fortunately, once the planes fly by, the birds are still there.

From Congaree National Park, this is Kurt Repanshek.


Wow, this is so relaxing and peaceful! Makes me wanna go back to Congaree. We loved it there. Thank you for posting this audible paradise!

Hmm I think I hear a parula and a red-shouldered hawk (?) among others. Anyone else?

Interesting recording... thanks for sharing. I'm interested in how we're losing quiet space, even deep with-in national park boundries. Personaly I think a no fly zone should be in affect for any park, but that is quite controversial. Who wants to hear air traffic in prestine wilderness?