Each year millions of Americans travel to national parks both near and far, in search vibrant scenery and tranquil atmosphere. Since many people seek out national parks to listen to birds and waterfalls, loud motorcycles are causing a bit of a problem, according to NPR. The national news outlet reports that park-goers are complaining and park officials have taken notice of the alleged “noise pollution.”
Motorcycles and National Parks
It’s no secret that summer is the perfect season for motorcyclists. Not only are there more sunny days in the summer, but also the days are longer and obviously warmer. Not surprisingly, there will be a considerable amount of motorcyclists on the open road this summer. That being said, a number of U.S. cities and towns are cracking down on “noisy” motorcycles. While numerous locations have introduced laws deterring loud motorcycles in recent months, it seems riders may now be facing a surprising new foe: national parks.
Effects of Motorcycle Noise
NPR also reports that the National Park Service is concerned about how the excessive noise may affect animals. Though most animals can coexist amongst motorcycles in urban settings, this is often not the case in national parks.
Karen Trevino, head of the Natural Sounds and Night Skies Division for the National Park Service, is currently recording audio at over 70 national parks around the country. Thus far, Trevino and her team have concluded that motorcycle noise can be heard up to 18 miles away.
“That noise can make it harder for animals to hear predators or listen for prey. Elk and songbirds have trouble finding mates,” said Ashley Ahearn, NPR reporter. Trevino added, “While there are plenty of blind vertebrates, there aren’t any deaf ones.” Vertebrates are classified as any animal that possesses a backbone or spinal column, which includes mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fishes.
Rules for Motorcycles in National Parks
Despite its findings, the National Parks Service is not prepared to take any action as of yet. Trevino insists that further research needs to be gathered and analyzed.
She did state, however, that the park service would urge riders to travel in smaller groups and to be respectful of park quiet hours. Trevino has partnered with multiple motorcycle associations in order to reach some consensus.
According to Trevino, the park service is not trying to limit motorcyclists’ access to parks. Presently, there are no anti-motorcycle rules or penalties on the horizon. Now all that’s left is to see if motorcycle riders choose to cooperate with the suggestions of the National Park Service.