In Glacier National Park, according to 2015 visitor numbers,
less than 1% take recreational helicopter air tours,
100% of the natural sounds for more than 99% of park visitors.
From the NPS Natural Sounds Program: Safeguarding the Sounds of Life
"In a survey of the American public, 95% of participants felt that experiencing natural peace
and the sounds of nature were important reasons to preserve national parks."
(Haas & Wakefield, 1998
NOISE THEN AND NOW
In a 1994 NPS Report to Congress, Glacier National Park was one of the top Parks listed in the NPS Priorities for Protection of Natural Quiet.
If protecting natural quiet was an immediate priority more than 20 years ago, what is it today? ITS TIME!
DESTRUCTION OF TRANQUILITY
Annually, an overwhelming number of visitor complaints mention helicopter noise as the biggest disappointment, many to the point of it having ruined their experience. More than 90% of public comment received by the Park were in favor of banning helicopter scenic overflights. This helped shape the policy they stand by today but are prevented from acting on by other regulations.
DESTRUCTION OF WILDERNESS
Glacier is a Park composed of critical habitat for the grizzly bear and other wildlife species known to be adversely affected by noise - inlcluding disruption of feeding, migration and mating.
Wilderness is a big part of Glacier and quiet is a big part of wilderness.
TIME TO QUIET!
Natural quiet is a central resource value to the park and its absence imperils the totality of the visitor experience, especially when the visitor comes to the park expecting peace and quiet and enjoyment of nature and natural sounds.
With all the crises we face around the globe, the assault on nature created by sight-seeing helicopter tours may seem comparatively unimportant.
Yet, Glacier National Park is a sacred place. One ought to be able to escape noise and chaos in a national park. It is important because, if we have no place to find quiet, we will have no peace.
We can fix this - bring back the quiet.
Let Glacier National Park carry out its management plan to protect the natural sounds.
Inside Science Reducing Noise in National Parks
A short advertisement will appear, skip after a few secconds.
Helicopter multi-source, multi-directional noise is like no other aircraft- as demonstrated in these IOPScience diagrams.
To demonstrate the invasiveness of noise, watch this Noisemap Simulation.
This video shows a visual of the noise a motorcycle made on the Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park in Montana. Published on Jun 27, 2012, made available by the National Park Service.