||A substantial body of research on natural quiet and natural darkness in national
parks, and protected areas more broadly, has been reported in the scientific and professional literature in recent years. However, this literature is widely scattered over many academic and professional journals that cover both the natural and social sciences. To help integrate and synthesize this body of work, we surveyed this diverse literature and collected representative examples in a book (Manning et al. 2018). We conclude our book with a series of principles
that we have distilled to help guide park managers to protect natural quiet and natural darkness. This paper presents those principles.
Much of our book focuses on national parks in the United States, and in the remainder of this paper the phrase “the national parks” refers to them. But we feel that the principles we have derived from our review of the scientific and professional literature on natural quiet and natural darkness apply equally well to a variety of parks and protected areas in the United States and elsewhere.
Natural quiet is generally defined as the sounds of nature uninterrupted by human-caused noise, and natural darkness is darkness unaffected by human-caused light. It is important to note that natural quiet and natural darkness do not necessarily mean absolute quiet or darkness, as the natural world often generates sounds of its own (e.g., birds calling, wind blowing,
rivers rushing) and has sources of illumination (e.g., the glow of celestial bodies and the fluorescence of some plants and animals).