Photo credit: Hayden Liu licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

by Daniel Fink, MD, Chair, The Quiet Coalition

I have hiked in the Alps many times and have recorded ambient sound levels just above 40 dBA* on the trail. Invariably one hears a distant jet plane, or the background hum of vehicular traffic on a road one can barely see. And the Alps can be windy, too.

That’s nowhere near as quiet as the worlds first “certified quiet trail,” the Cuifeng Lake Quiet Trail, according to this report from CNN.

The Taiwanese trail is at about 6500 feet elevation along the path of an old railway track. A lush and moist cypress forest, moss ground cover, and few hikers after the first several hundred yards to a view of the lake, help keep things quiet.

Certification was done by the new nonprofit, Quiet Parks International. To meet QPI’s standards, there can be no more than one human-caused sound every 15 minutes. The lowest measured volume on the trail was fewer than 25 decibels, which is QPI’s classification for “almost silent.”

Renowned natural sound recordist Laila Fan stated, “[c]reating more quiet trails is not only important for human beings, but also for animals living in the forest. They need a quiet environment to communicate with each other and reproduce so that life goes on.”

We couldn’t agree more. A quieter world will be a healthier and better world for all, including forest animals, fishes and marine mammals, and of course, us humans.

*A-weighting adjusts sound measurements for the sounds heard in human speech.