Public parks remain one of the great escapes for people looking to exercise, enjoy a beautiful landscape, or just take a walk. But in urban settings, the intrusive noise of traffic, construction, or other interruptions can dampen a park's pleasures.
Near Taipei, Taiwan, visitors to Yangmingshan National Park have a different experience entirely. According to Condé Nast Traveler, the park will be certified this week by Taiwan’s government and the California-based nonprofit Quiet Parks International as the first-ever Quiet Urban Park. With densely-populated Taipei two hours away, the background noise doesn’t exceed 45 decibels, or roughly the level of a quiet conversation.
The park’s location will allow people to experience the noise of their surroundings, from frogs to birds. In the early morning hours, when activity in Taipei is minimal, ducks can be heard paddling across the water. In this setting, the hope is that people living in the bustle of urban life can have a place to decompress. According to Laila Chin-Hui Fan, the environmental journalist who led the movement to get Yangmingshan approved, the site is a “wonderland that can help cleanse our body, clear our mind, and claim our spirit.”
Quiet Parks International is hoping to certify as many as 50 more parks in the coming decade, including locations in New York City, London, Stockholm, and Portland, Oregon. Yangmingshan National Park will officially be recognized June 5, and so will a mile-long path through the woods that QPI has dubbed an official Quiet Urban Trail. Visitors are asked to remain silent as they walk and observe the Taiwanese isoetes, an endangered aquatic quillwort.
[h/t Condé Nast Traveler]