You can now stream the sounds of national parks wherever you happen to be

Micro Guide: Joshua Tree National Park
Sierralara/Shutterstock

Many city dwellers who are tired of subjecting their auditory systems to the jarring noises of urban life block out the noise by sticking some earphones in and losing themselves in their favorite music.

But for a more soothing experience, how about transporting yourself to one of the country’s many national parks?

Celebrating the National Park Service’s 102nd birthday, the National Park Foundation — the official charity partner of the service — recently released a soundtrack comprising 12 minutes of audio collected from many of the nation’s parks.

ParkTracks, which can be streamed online for free, is described by the foundation as “an innovative audio experience to help counter the hustle and bustle of city life, and tap into the trends of tranquility and mindfulness.”

The relaxing sounds of nature were captured by the foundation’s Natural Sounds and Night Skies Division with the aim of transporting you from your noisy subway ride to Yellowstone or Yosemite or the Great Smoky Mountains.

“America’s national parks contain many cherished treasures,” the Natural Sounds and Night Skies Division says on its website. “Among them are captivating natural sounds and awe-inspiring night skies. The joy of listening to the quiet symphony of nature and the wonderment of seeing the Milky Way stretching overhead are unique experiences that can still be found in many of our national parks.”

The National Park Foundation also talks about how each of America’s national parks has its own unique soundscape. Dig deeper into its website and you’ll find individual recordings from Rocky Mountain National Park that are divided into soundscapes from different times throughout the day, environmental soundscapes, and weather soundscapes.

Many studies over the years have suggested that the sounds of nature can have a beneficial effect on your well being, even if you’re not able to easily leave the city to enjoy them in person. A detailed study conducted last year by U.K.-based researchers, for example, found that natural sounds had a more positive effect on internal human processes when compared to artificial sounds.

The study’s lead author, Dr Cassandra Gould van Praag, said: “We are all familiar with the feeling of relaxation and ‘switching-off’ which comes from a walk in the countryside, and now we have evidence from the brain and the body which helps us understand this effect. [This research] has produced results which may have a real-world impact, particularly for people who are experiencing high levels of stress.”

Looking for more ways to relax? Then check out Digital Trends’ pick of the best yoga apps currently on the market.

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