Great article in the New York Times on the strides made at Muir Woods, just north of San Francisco, in restoring natural quiet.
At times, deep within this vaulted chamber of redwoods, it is almost quiet enough to hear a banana slug slither by. For the National Park Service, that stillness is as vital a component of the site as the trees’ green needles, or the sudden darting rays of sunlight.
A decade after the agency resolved to restore natural sounds to this park in a metropolitan area of seven million people, managers at Muir Woods, in Marin Country just north of San Francisco, have made big strides in vanquishing intrusive noise. Now the background sounds are dominated by the burbling rush of Redwood Creek, the soft sibilant breeze that stirs the redwood branches, the croak of a crow.
Much more in the full article, including summary of National Park Service research on the effects of moderate noise on animals, and the recent Grand Canyon noise management plan.