A new way to experience the wild places of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks is now available to the public, both as an exhibit and an interactive online activity. An innovative project dedicated to capturing the sounds of the parks, at different elevations and ecosystems, has been completed.
These sounds are accessible to anyone, whether they are visiting the parks or on their couch back home. A new exhibit in the Kings Canyon Visitor Center of Grant Grove is now available to visitors, as well as a soundscape library, story map, and a video online for all to enjoy.
The story map and video use geographic context to take a virtual visitor on a tour of the sights and sounds that they might find while hiking on one of the parks’ trails. The story map uses a set of interactive maps, text, photos, illustrations, video, and audio to take the visitor from the foothills of the Sierra Nevada to the alpine peaks, and tells the story of each of the ecosystems encountered along the way.
The video also follows this foothills-to-peaks path and matches the sounds with the sights that created them.
“This project is a great example of how the National Park Service is taking scientific data and making it discoverable, accessible, and usable by the public,” said Paul Hardwick, Branch Chief of Information Resources for Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.
Scientists use specialized equipment to record these soundscapes. Biological monitoring with the use of continuous recording acoustic equipment also provides opportunities to extend surveys to places and intervals when it is inconvenient or impossible for observers to be present.
“I have witnessed visitors stand totally mesmerized by this project,” said Savannah Boiano, executive director of Sequoia Parks Conservancy. “Rare are the chances for any of us to hear the clash of horns of the bighorn sheep, the singular drop of melting snow droplets, or the chatter of a mountain-top pika. The Soundscapes project ensures that all have access to the unique natural and cultural resources of these two parks, and the Sequoia Parks Conservancy is proud to have supported this program.”
The project’s contributors are Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, Colorado State University, Midpines Media, NPS Natural Sounds and Night Skies Division, and park partner Sequoia Parks Conservancy.