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Consider the Impacts of Your Noise on Trail

Posted by Erika Haugen-Goodman at Jun 29, 2018 01:41 PM |

When on trail, remember that your actions and noises can impact other hikers' experiences.

However and wherever you enjoy hiking, remember that other hikers share the trail with you. Your actions can impact other hikers’ experiences, even if they aren’t hiking right next to you. The next time you go for a hike, consider the impacts that sound might have on other hikers and the critters that inhabit the area. Here are a few tips that can help.

Photo by Dale Blair.
Loud noises on the trail can scare away wildlife that other hikers are hoping to spot. Photo by Dale Blair.

Use headphones rather than speakers

Sound carries farther than you think (especially across water), which might make it hard for other hikers to hear the sounds of nature. Additionally, music played out loud can stress wildlife that make their home near the trail.* Headphones are a good compromise — you can still jam out to your favorite songs and the nearby birds can whistle their own tunes for others to hear.

Respect other hikers’ quiet time

In areas where multiple camps of people are set up for the night, it’s respectful to keep voices and sounds low to allow other campers a quiet wilderness experience. Plus, it’s hard to beat staring up at the starry sky and taking in the sounds of the wild. In certain areas it’s good to make a bit of noise, particularly in places where black bears may be present. When hiking in dense forests or tall meadows, it’s good to sing (here’s your chance to shine!) or talk in an elevated tone so that bears are aware of you. The goal is to avoid any surprise encounters where bears might feel threatened.

In short, consider the sound you’re making on trail and how it might impact other hikers and the environment around you. Being a courteous hiker ensures that everyone, including wildlife, can enjoy their time outside.

Photo by Shiphrah Pickett.
Even slugs like when you use headphones. Photo by Shiphrah Pickett.