July 12, 2011
Howard Duncan, 423-569-9778
Some of our most profound experiences in life are not seen—they are heard. World Listening Day provides an opportunity to relate to the world around us. During the week of July 17-23, the National Park Service will be observing a variety of activities in national parks across the nation. Activities in this area are described below.
Our ability to see is a powerful tool for experiencing our world, but sound adds a richness that sight alone cannot provide. In many cases, hearing is the only option for experiencing certain aspects of our environment. The symphony of natural sounds within our national parks is an important natural resource and a critical component of the ecological communities that parks seek to preserve.
Elk bugling in the cool autumn air, waterfalls thundering, cannons firing at our battlefield parks, the quiet hush of the wind among the forest trees and water rippling in mountain streams—these are the sounds that make visiting our national parks a unique and memorable experience. Natural and cultural sounds awaken the sense of awe that connects us to the splendor of national parks and have a powerful effect on our emotions, attitudes, and memories. Who can forget the flash of adrenaline from the sound of looming whitewater, the lightning bolt that cracked just a little too close, or the shrill call of a red tail hawk soaring high above?
Our modern world has become increasingly filled with noise that seems to form the background of our daily lives. It is easy to forget the subtle sounds that nature provides. A few moments listening to distant bird calls or the sound of a rushing stream have a calming effect that can put our concerns into perspective. World Listening Day is an opportunity to renew our connection with the natural world.
World Listening Day Activity at Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area
Join a National Park Service ranger for a short walk to a quiet spot along the Big South Fork River. If you would like to participate in this free activity meet at the Leatherwood Ford trailhead located on Highway 297 at 10:30 a.m. (Eastern Time) on Sunday, July 17. The activity will last approximately an hour. Comfortable walking shoes are recommended. The hike will involve some period of sitting so you may want to consider bringing insect repellent. Picnic facilities are available at Leatherwood Ford if you wish to bring lunch. For more information about this activity, please contact the Big South Fork’s Bandy Creek Visitor Center at (423) 286-7275.
World Listening Day Activity at Obed Wild and Scenic River
Celebrate World Listening Day by joining a National Park Service ranger and learn appreciation for the natural soundscapes of the Obed. No reservations are required for this free event. Please meet at the Lilly Bluff Overlook parking lot (just off Ridge Road) on Monday, July 18, at 9:30 p.m. (Eastern Time). From there visitors will walk to the overlook and listen for sounds. Visitors are encouraged to come prepared by familiarizing themselves with some outdoor sounds prior to the event. Also, please wear sturdy shoes and bring a flashlight. This event should conclude by 10:30 p.m. For more information about this activity, please contact the Obed WSR at (423) 346-6294.