One of the joys of a state park is the sound of nature, which includes silence. These opportunities are becoming increasingly rare as the last private natural lands are developed or converted to agriculture and highways.
During visits to state parks, we can find a quiet place to be still and tune into sounds that we seldom or perhaps have never heard before. It is nature’s concert hall. Some special treats are hearing the bugling of a sandhill crane on the prairie, the eerie cry of the limpkin along a spring run, and the caterwauling of a barred owl in the hammock.
If we’re lucky we may hear the bellow of a bull gator or be thrilled by the rattle of a diamondback.
There are also unfamiliar sounds that we may not be able to identify such as the diverse calls of tree frogs and insects like the katydid and cicada. At the beach, there’ll be the surf and the laughter of laughing gulls.
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The sounds of nature are special and must be protected for all time in state parks. There is nothing that we can do to protect this rare experience when an airplane flies near or when there are trucks on a distant highway.
However, we must discourage invasive noises in our special places.
These intrusion disrupts the tranquility, drowns out the subtle sounds of nature and diminishes our enjoyment.
Jim Stevenson, former chief naturalist, Florida State Parks, Tallahassee