One Square Inch of Silence is the quietest place in the United States. Located in the Hoh Rain Forest at Olympic National Park, it is approximately three miles from the Visitor’s Center above Mt. Tom Creek Meadows. Hiking time from the parking lot at the Visitor’s Center to the site is approximately two hours along a gentle path lined by ancient trees and ferns. The exact location is marked by a small red-colored stone placed on top of a moss-covered log at 47° 51.959N, 123° 52.221W, 678 feet above sea level.
One Square Inch of Silence was designated on Earth Day 2005 (April 22, 2005) to protect and manage the natural soundscape in Olympic Park’s backcountry wilderness. The logic is simple; if a loud noise, such as the passing of an aircraft, can impact many square miles, then a natural place, if maintained in a 100% noise-free condition, will also impact many square miles around it. It is predicted that protecting a single square inch of land from noise pollution will benefit large areas of the park.
Sunrise, Hurricane Ridge, ONP
The hope is that this simple and inexpensive method of soundscape management will prove to be a valuable resource management tool towards fulfilling a goal of NPS Management Policy, Chapter 4.9 Soundscape Management. The National Park Service will preserve, to the greatest extent possible, the natural soundscapes of parks. Natural soundscapes exist in the absence of human-caused sound. The Service will restore degraded soundscapes to the natural condition wherever possible, and will protect natural soundscapes from degradation due to noise (undesirable human-caused sound).
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