Trails & Tides

Tristan Baurick, the Kitsap Sun's outdoors and public lands reporter, writes about hiking, biking, kayaking and everything else Kitsapers do under the sun.
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An evening of rare natural sounds from Indianola’s sound tracker

March 5th, 2014 by tristan baurick

Hempton

Indianola “acoustic ecologist” Gordon Hempton is presenting a collection of rare natural sounds – from whale songs to melting glaciers – tomorrow night in Port Townsend. The event, entitled “Earth is a Solar-Powered Juke Box,” was organized by the Jefferson Land Trust Natural History Society.

Hempton, who earned an Emmy for his sound recordings, made a square inch of Olympic National Park world famous when he declared it the quietest place in the continental U.S.

Known as the One Square Inch of Silence, the spot is more symbolic than scientific. It’s purpose is to bring attention to the shrinking number of places that are free from human-made noise.

Hempton3

I profiled Hempton last August for the Kitsap Sun’s West Sound Guide to the Outdoors.*

At that time, Hempton was slowly going deaf, which he said was akin to a photographer losing his vision.

Hempton’s hearing problems gave new urgency to two projects he considers his life’s work – creating a vast library of natural sounds and preserving the purity of the One Square Inch site and the 366,000 acres of national park that surround it.

You can read the profile here.

Thursday’s presentation begins at 7 p.m. at the Quimper Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, 2333 San Juan Ave., Port Townsend. A $5 donation is suggested.

More info on the presentation can be found here.

*The third issue of the West Sound Guide to the Outdoors is coming out Mar. 21. The issue’s theme is boating.

Photos: At top, Gordon Hempton discusses his hearing difficulties at his Indianola home last year. By Meegan M. Reid, Kitsap Sun. Above, Hempton records ocean sounds. Courtesy of the Jefferson Land Trust Natural History Society.

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