For the more information about natural sounds and night skies in the National Park Service, please visit

Natural soundscapes are essential for animal communication. Cannon fire demonstration at Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine Sound Monitoring in Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve Even natural sounds such as lightning can be loud. Many people visit National Parks to enjoy the soothing sounds of nature.


Natural Sounds

Elk bugling in the cool autumn air of Rocky Mountain National Park, waterfalls thundering in Yosemite Valley, cannons firing at Fort McHenry National Monument, the quiet hush among giant redwoods--these are the sounds that make visiting our national parks a unique 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 or the lightning bolt that cracked just a little too close? The National Park Service regards these sounds as part of a web of natural and cultural resources that must be protected.

Like thunder rumbling in the distance, threats to natural and cultural soundscapes are increasingly difficult to ignore. From growing demands for park overflights and expanding energy development to greater numbers of park visitors, potential noise sources are proliferating. So too, however, are efforts to understand their effects and avert negative impacts.

Featured Topics

Have you heard? World Listening Day is July 18!

Mapping Noise


See how NPS is estimating sound levels on a continental scale. Learn more...

Listening Lab

Red fox

A partnership between NPS and Colorado State University joins scientists and students in the study of acousitcs in parks.Learn more...

Science of Sound


Want to better understand the science behind sound? You too can become a sound expert! Visit this page for a little Sound 101. Learn more...

Managing Soundscapes

Red fox

The National Park service protects soundscapes. Learn what this means, what sounds are protected, and what laws and policies are in place.Learn more...

Noise Pollution


It is impossible to see, difficult to define, and even harder to regulate. But recent studies reveal surprising impacts of noise on park resources and visitor experiences. Learn more...

Measuring Soundscapes


If a tree falls in the woods, and no one is around to hear it... it may have been recorded! Park managers need reliable data about the acoustical environment in order to preserve it. Learn more...

Exploring Sounds

Wolf howling

Experience the sounds of your National Parks! Learn more...

Making a Difference

Person listening

The great thing about soundscapes is that with just one small change, you can make a dramatic difference! Learn more...

Useful Resources

Last Updated: July 02, 2015