Yellowstone’s soundscape is the aggregate of all the sounds within the park, including those inaudible to the human ear. Some sounds are critical for animals to locate a mate or food, or avoid predators. Other sounds, such as those produced by weather, water, and geothermal activity, may be a consequence rather than a driver of ecological processes. Human-caused sounds, however, can mask the natural soundscape. The National Park Service goal is to protect or restore natural soundscapes where possible and minimize non-natural sounds, recognizing that they are generally more appropriate in and near developed areas. The quality of Yellowstone’s soundscape depends on where and how often non-natural sounds are present as well as their levels.

Updated 3/19/09