/ Traveling the Green Way

The Quietest Nature Spot in the United States

If you’re tired of noise when you travel then a trip to Washington’s Olympic National Park is just the ticket. At the top of a three mile hike on the Hoh River Trail in the park is a spot that’s proclaimed to be the quietest place in the entire United States.

Visitors enjoy a quiet walk in the rain forest

Visitors enjoy a quiet walk in the rain forest

The spot is known as One Square Inch of Silence, and recently has been noted as being one of the world’s most desirable destinations for aural solitude by Forbes Traveler, MSN and Yahoo! Hiking from the parking lot at the Visitor’s Center at Washington’s Olympic National Park to the site takes about two hours and the hike follows along a gentle path lined by ancient trees and ferns. The exact location of One Square Inch 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. Get directions to One Square Inch (pdf).

Hiking on the beach is a popular activity in the park

Hiking on the beach is a popular activity in the park

One Square Inch of Silence was designated on Earth Day 2005 in order to protect and manage the natural soundscape in Olympic Park’s backcountry wilderness. The logic behind the idea 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.” With this in mind this area of the park, and thus the miles surrounding it are protected from many air crafts and other noise intrusions.

Majestic mountains cover the center of the park

Majestic mountains cover the center of the park

Beyond the noise free environment, Olympic National Park is an excellent area to visit if you’re into green. The park contains the largest and best example of virgin temperate rain forest in the western hemisphere, the largest intact stand of coniferous forest in the contiguous 48 states, and the largest truly wild herd of Roosevelt elk. Best of all there are 57 miles of spectacular coastline and many offshore islands to explore. Add to this heavily forested mountain slopes, alpine parklands and glacier-capped mountains, twelve major rivers, 200 smaller streams, over 1200 higher plants, over 300 species of birds and over 70 species of mammals .and you’ve got a major nature wonderland.

[images via US.gov - Olympic National Park]

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Tags: eco travel, featuredarticle, green initiatives, green travel, nature travel, Olympic National Park, travel washington, Washington's Olympic National Park


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