by David M. Sykes, Vice Chair, The Quiet Coalition
If you’ve been looking for a truly quiet space to visit, consider Green Bank, West Virginia, where there’s no WiFi, no cellphone service, no microwave ovens or any other device that generates electromagnetic signals. Known as a National Radio Quiet Zone, it consists of 13,000 square miles of mountainous terrain set aside to protect the Green Bank Observatory, a cluster of radio telescopes.
Have you heard about International Dark Sky Places? The first one in the U.S. is a 1400-square-mile spot in Central Idaho where there’s no artificial light. According to this author, “[t]here are currently 37 official dark sky parks in the United States, 53 in the world. There are only 11 dark sky reserves – which have a larger size requirement than parks – and none of them are in the U.S.”
In fact, “acoustic ecology” is an emerging field, so if you’re interested in “eco-tourism” you’re among a growing group of people who seek out quiet places around the world.
But as the author of the New York Times piece on Green Bank notes, “[t]o experience the deepest solitude, you need to enter the land where the internet ends.”
A few years ago, I worked with others to help turn George Prochnik’s 2011 book “In Pursuit of Silence” into a feature-length documentary film of the same name. What we learned in the process is how scarce truly “quiet zones” have become, despite the National Park Service’s efforts to preserve them.
So hurry up! Plan a few trips before these “Quiet Zones” disappear!