For the more information about natural sounds and night skies in the National Park Service, please visit http://www.nature.nps.gov/sound_night/.


Red Fox Starry night at Great Basin National Park Acoustical Monitoring Equipment at Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve Twilight falls upon Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Havasu Falls at Grand Canyon National Park Visitor watches the sunrise at Big Bend National Park Moonbow graces the crater at Haleakala National Park Cannon fire demonstration at Fort McHenry Milky Way at Devils Tower National Monument

Mission

"The Natural Sounds and Night Skies Division works to restore, maintain, and protect acoustical environments and naturally dark skies throughout the National Park System. We work in partnership with parks and others to increase scientific understanding and inspire public appreciation of the value and character of undiminished soundscapes and star-filled skies."

Natural Sounds and Night Skies

America’s national parks contain many cherished treasures; among them are captivating natural sounds and awe-inspiring night skies. The joy of listening to the quiet symphony of nature or the beauty of seeing the Milky Way stretching overhead have become rare experiences in our lifetimes, but they can still be found in many of our national parks. Natural sounds and natural darkness, though often overlooked, are essential in keeping our national treasures whole. They are magnificent in their own right, but also inspirational to the visitors who come to national parks, vital to the protection of wilderness character, fundamental to the historical and cultural context, and critical for park wildlife.

The Natural Sounds and Night Skies Division uses science, engineering, and technology to understand and better manage these spectacular resources. We pioneer innovative techniques to measure the impact of noise and light pollution, develop new approaches to safeguard natural sounds and natural darkness, and identify management solutions to restore these public resources.

The Natural Sounds and Night Skies Division works to protect, maintain, or restore acoustical and dark night sky environments throughout the National Park System. We work in partnership with parks and others to increase scientific understanding and inspire public appreciation of the value and character of soundscapes and star-filled skies. We welcome your interest in learning about these sublime resources of our national parks and the efforts you can take to help us preserve them for future generations. Whether it’s simply talking a little softer or turning off an outdoor light, you too can make a difference in the protection of these vital resources. Most of all, we encourage you to experience for yourself the natural soundscapes and lightscapes of your national parks.



Programs

Natural Sounds

Wolf Howling

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. Learn more...

Night Skies

Milky Way

Starry night skies and natural darkness are part of the special places we protect. National Parks hold some of the last remaining harbors of darkness and provide an excellent opportunity for the public to experience this disappearing resource. Learn more...


Last Updated: February 06, 2014