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Volume 26
Number 3
Winter 2009-2010
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A couple strolls through Cathedral Grove at Muir Woods National Monument. NPS Photo/Lou Sian Research Report
A program of research to support management of visitor-caused noise at Muir Woods National Monument
By Robert Manning, Peter Newman, Kurt Fristrup, Dave Stack, and Ericka Pilcher
Published: 4 Sep 2015 (online)  •  14 Sep 2015 (in print)
Muir Woods National Monument
Indicators and standards of quality
About the authors
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A couple strolls through Cathedral Grove at Muir Woods National Monument.

NPS Photo/Lou Sian

A couple strolls through Cathedral Grove on a quiet morning in winter when visitation is typically low. Signage at the entrance to this area reminds visitors that they are in a quiet zone.

NATIONAL PARKS ARE MANAGED to protect the environmental and experiential values of the landscapes they represent. As the nation continues to grow into a more populous, developed, and noisy place, these values have expanded from landscapes to “soundscapes” and include the natural and cultural sounds of national parks. In fact, sounds have been identified by the National Park Service (NPS) as a resource that must be protected. In doing so, the National Park Service is challenged to define “soundscapes,” understand the effects of noise on visitors and wildlife, and take appropriate management action when necessary.

Management of environmental and experiential impacts on national parks is increasingly guided by management-by-objectives frameworks such as the NPS Visitor Experience and Resource Protection (VERP) framework (NPS 1997; Manning 2001; Manning 2007). Like other such frameworks, VERP has three principal steps. First, indicators and standards of quality are formulated. Indicators are measurable, manageable variables that help define and quantify desired resource and social conditions. Standards of quality define the minimum acceptable condition of indicator variables. Second, indicators of quality are monitored over time. Third, management actions are taken to help ensure that standards of quality are maintained. With continued monitoring, VERP is an iterative or “adaptive” process, providing feedback that informs management about the degree to which management objectives are attained and the efficacy of management actions taken. This article describes a program of research designed to support application of VERP and management of visitor-caused noise at Muir Woods National Monument (Muir Woods) in California.

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This page updated:  28 July 2010

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From the Guest Editor(s)
Comments and Corrections
At Your Service
Information Crossfile
Science Notes
Field Moment
Meetings of Interest
Masthead Information
From landscapes to soundscapes: Introduction to the special issue
Measuring and monitoring soundscapes in the national parks
Integrating soundscapes into National Park Service planning
Excerpt from Governors Island General Management Plan
Conserving the wild life therein--Protecting park fauna from anthropogenic noise
Soundscapes monitoring and an overflight advisory group: Informing real-time management decisions at Denali
Soundscape management at Grand Canyon National Park
Tools of the trade: An example of using spectrograms to count fixed-wing aircraft
Visually impaired students help collect acoustic data in Grand Canyon National Park
Protecting the acoustic conditions at Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve
Generator noise along the U.S.-Mexico border
Airport expansion adjacent to San Antonio Missions
  A program of research to support management of visitor-caused noise at Muir Woods National Monument
Modeling and mapping hikers’ exposure to transportation noise in Rocky Mountain National Park
Aircraft overflights at national parks: Conflict and its potential resolution
Managing the natural soundscape: The National Park Service as a learning organization
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