Monthly Archives: May 2017

Your national park – access by smartphone only?

May 8, 2017


By Bob Cox

Some opinions, comments and links relating to what is happening in this great nation and, in particular, in Western Colorado.

Watch out folks! The next step for some of the feel-gooders is going to be completely banning all of us from personally visiting some of those special places. Why? Because we contribute to sound pollution.

When I wrote Fishing Close to the Bank, I dedicated one chapter to places that I named based on a borrowed term from Diana Gabaldon’s book, The Scottish Prisoner. Those places are called “Fridstools.” They are places where one can just get away and absorb the surroundings or seek sanctuary from what is going on in the world around us.

So, I truly appreciate the solitude that is available in places like the national parks and mountain streams, but the “protectors” are may be going too far.

Recently, some researchers, paid for under the guise of being National Park Service employees, conducted a study that they say determined that human-made sound is drowning out nature.

Now, if it were practical that I could get the government to allow only me to enjoy those special places, maybe I would go along, but these so-called researchers may have an agenda that will deny us all. They have already made moves to keep all but a select few out of public lands. They tell us where we are allowed to go and when we are allowed to go there. They give priority to one group over others all the time and this study could make it worse.

I don’t doubt that most of their findings are correct. They ran around the country planting microphones and recording devices at almost 500 sites around the nation, including 23 in Colorado. They recorded a total of 1.5 million hours of the sounds of nature and found out that “human caused” sounds are twice as high as natural sounds at well over half of the sites.

You have to read between the lines a little to see what is coming. A Denver Post article quoted Rachel Buxton, a CSU post-doctorial scientist as saying that, “… noise pollution is disrupting wildlife ad scaring away animals, INCLUDING ENDANGERED SPECIES.” (emphasis added). I will leave it up to you to analyze that statement, but allow me to add a comment about Rachel Buxton: She is a “conservation biologist” that is an outspoken opponent of oil and gas exploration, especially fracking. She has suggested that the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally should be outlawed because it has “inundated” a prairie dog colony with noise pollution, and she openly admits that public land visitors are polluting the very thing they are going to enjoy – surprise, surprise. Incidentally, when the Post interviewed Buxton, they had to do so by telephone. She was in India, a country with more than 1.3 billion people. She must like being around all that noise at least sometimes.

You may think I am crazy, but I see these people as proposing to replace all those recording devices with video cameras and microphones so you can access them through you smart phone and enjoy the experience without actually being there. That way us nasty humans will no longer be part of the wilderness experience. We can stay home and pollute only our immediate surrounding and the rest of the world will remain pristine in the true meaning of pristine. If you do think I am crazy, read this quote from that Denver Post article:

Federal land managers are considering installation of sound walls around industrial sites, mandatory shuttle buses to cut car traffic, and new road surfacing designed to absorb noise from vehicle engines and tires. Flight paths could be shifted to route planes and choppers over already-noisy roadways.

Remember, I only send out these missives via email to those who have asked for them. I do not share your email addresses with anyone and I use the Reagan email precisely because they don’t share or sell the addresses either. If you are getting this because someone forwarded it to you and you don’t want it, tell him or her not to forward any more. On the other hand, if you received a copy and would like to see more of my ranting, simply drop me a line at I will put you on my exclusive, but growing list.




© Robert R. Cox 2017