Position and Evidence Continued

Now apply the principles of position, main supporting ideas, and minor supporting ideas by rolling over the highlighted sentences of “Effects on Visitors” from “Explore Natural Sounds” sections to test which sections reflect position, main supporting ideas, and minor supporting ideas. Then evaluate the ways in which supporting details define and prove the position.

Effects on Visitors

Park visitors appreciate natural sounds.Many natural sounds such as gurgling streams, bird songs, or the rustling of leaves on a fall day can have a calming and relaxing effect.Other sounds such as the chirp of crickets or a gentle breeze through a forest can trigger memories of pleasant past experiences.

Visitors to national parks often indicate that an important reason for visiting the parks is to enjoy the relative quiet that parks can offer. In a 1998 survey of the American public, 72% of people identified opportunities to experience natural quiet and the sounds of nature as an important reason for national parks. In studies of visitor preferences, respondents consistently rate many natural sounds such as birds, animals, wind, and water as very pleasing. As a result, the presence of unwanted, uncharacteristic, or inappropriate sounds can interfere with or alter the soundscape resource and degrade the visitors’ experience. Uncharacteristic sounds or sound levels affect visitors’ perceptions of solitude and tranquility and can generate high levels of annoyance. In a 2005 and 2006 study at Muir Woods National Monument visitors showed annoyance with many noise sources, including aircraft, cell phones, vehicles, and park operations.

Visitor evaluations of annoyance are affected by many [noise] factors, including the setting in which the noise occurs, the visitors’ recreational activities, and their expectations of quiet and solitude. Loudness is also a factor; however, research on specific causes of noise such as snowmobiles and helicopters indicate that even low levels of sound can compromise a visitor’s enjoyment of a natural setting.


“Effects on Visitors” clearly establishes what park visitors appreciate about the sounds and soothing quiet of natural setting by providing examples of sounds visitors like and the intrusive sounds visitors find annoying. “Effects on Visitors” provides specific examples of both kinds of sounds and concludes by showing that even a little bit of disruptive sound spoils a visitor’s pleasure in a natural environment.


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