Turn Off Your Speaker: Leave No Trace Shares Guidelines for Noise in the Outdoors

The pet peeve of many longtime hikers is the scourge of speakers on trails. Countless online debates criticize people bringing Bluetooth speakers into the outdoors and blasting their music for all to hear. Leave No Trace is working to end unwanted noise in the outdoors.

The organization focuses on protecting the wilderness. Recently, Leave No Trace released new guidelines regarding sound outside, and once again, they’re asking people to put the speakers away.

While Leave No Trace’s primary focus has always been combating litter and protecting trails, these sound guidelines also safeguard an essential part of the outdoor experience.

“Natural sounds and natural quiet are critical components of the natural environment,” Leave No Trace wrote on their website. “Natural quiet is vital for wildlife survival so that they can locate predators and prey and communicate.”

The organization says if someone needs to listen to music, they should use headphones. However, the organization points out the sound of nature should be all you need when outdoors. In fact, there are health benefits to listening to natural sounds.

Whether that noise is birds chirping, leaves rustling, or any other outdoor sound, it could be good for your mental health. Numerous studies show nature sounds lower stress levels and reduce anxiety. The combination is an easy way to improve one’s overall mental well-being. 

Ready to go for a hike? Check out our list of day hiking essentials.

The Leave No Trace guidelines were the joint effort of the organization along with the U.S. National Park Service Natural Sounds and Night Skies Division.

The guidelines also encourage people to observe quiet hours at campgrounds. Visitors should also soundproof generators and keep electronic devices turned down.

The sound guidelines continue by asking people to limit their transportation noise. Visitors to national parks can do this by taking a shuttle or bicycle to a trailhead. If they have to drive their own vehicle, they should do so slowly and avoid using car horns unless necessary.

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