Denali National Park and Preserve Noise

Many different natural sounds can be heard in Denali National Park and Preserve including the howling of wolves, the buzz of mosquitoes, the roar of rivers, the thunder of avalanches, the singing of migrant songbirds, the croaking of ravens, and the blissful experience of no sounds at all. The natural soundscape is an intrinsic element of the environment and is highly valued in national parks.

Season, animals, vegetation, climatic conditions, topography and proximity to water all influence the production and propagation of sounds. Despite Denali's acoustical complexity, it is helpful to describe the park's soundscape using three acoustical zones (areas with similar soundscapes): alpine, sub-alpine, and scrub/forest zones. The natural soundscape in each of these three zones relies on the interplay of sound generation and attenuation.

An important component of the National Park Service mission is to preserve and/or restore the natural soundscapes within national parks. Because the soundscape of Denali National Park and Preserve is becoming increasingly impacted by human-generated noise, a soundscape program is underway at the park. Park scientists are documenting natural and human-generated sounds at numerous locations throughout the park including high in the mountains, on glaciers, along rivers, in remote areas, and along the park road.

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