Noise in National Parks. The National Park Service is writing a “sound scape preservation” policy to identify and reduce bothersome noises. From sightseeing flights over the Grand Canyon to snowmobiles in Yellowstone and jet skis in national seashores, the whine of engines and other human noises are increasingly present even in natural areas. One researcher described the sounds he heard on a hike up the John Muir Trail in Yosemite thus: “I heard power generators operated under a special use permit at a backcountry camp. I heard gas-powered water pumps for fire hoses in case of a forest fire. There was dynamite blasting going on and jackhammers were being used to construct a stairway out of stone.” A lawsuit seeks to ban snowmobiles from Yellowstone, greatly upsetting some businesses who are thriving on snowmobile-driven winter tourism. A proposed new tightening of air tours over the Grand Canyon would cap the level at 88,000 sightseeing flights per year, in order to leave “41 percent of the park free from aircraft noise 75 percent of the time.” One critic retorts: “You don’t have a natural experience from a helicopter–period. Individuals in the sky are violating everybody’s right to quiet. They have no right to be there. It just absolutely infuriates me. I would just as soon have them flying model aircraft inside our theaters and concert halls.” See AP stories, “Amid holiday hubbub, a call for peace in the parks,” Bozeman Chronicle (7/3/99): A1 and “Feds propose new flight restrictions over the Grand Canyon,” Bozeman Chronicle (7/11/99): A2.