Founded and preserved on April 22nd, 2005 (Earth Day) by Gordon Hempton, One Square Inch of Silence, is a beautiful project meant to highlight how serene it can be to stand in nature and not hear any noise-pollution.
The project is located in the Hoh Rain Forest in the heart of the Olympic National Park and sits about 28 miles from the Washington coastline. Hempton chose this location for multiple reasons. In part because this area of Washington has such a diverse natural soundscape, and also because of the substantial periods of natural silence – there are no roads dividing the park and no planes flying overhead.
Who Is Gordon Hempton?
Gordon Hempton is an Emmy-winning “sound tracker“, author and musical artist. His goal in life is to search every inch of our world to find pristine areas free of noise pollution. He claims that there are only 12 of these sonically undisturbed places left in the United States.
But there’s a problem, according to Hempton: The One Square Inch of Silence is in “danger, unprotected by policies of the National Park Service, or supported by adequate laws.”
Gordon’s “hope is that by listening to natural silence, it will help people to become true listeners to their environment, and help us protect one of the most important and endangered resources on the planet: silence.”
How To Get There
The exact coordinates are 47° 51.959N, 123° 52.221W, 678 feet above sea level.
Or head over to the Visitors Center above Mt. Tom Creek Meadows on the Hoh River Trail and hike for exactly 3.2 miles until you hit a small red-colored stone placed on top of a moss-covered log.
When visiting the very, very silent area, please remember this isn’t an appropriate space to take part in your own conversations. It is a space meant for contemplation and thought.
“The publication of the location of One Square Inch increases the likelihood of visitation by hikers. Your visit is encouraged. Please be quiet. It is the belief of this organization that the need for quiet and the power of quiet will foster the care needed to preserve this site. At the site is the Jar of Quiet Thoughts, a depository of notes left by visitors. You are welcome to read and add to the Jar. Please respect that these are quiet thoughts from a quiet place—no quotes from the Jar are allowed.”
If you’re interested in finding out more about this space, or how to donate or volunteer – head to the official websitefor some great information.
Editor’s note: we do not own the photographs used above.