NORTH PLATTE, Neb. (KNOP) - Ensuring the experience of silence for generations to come.
It is one goal of Quiet Parks International, a non-profit with the mission statement, “committed to saving quiet for the benefit of all life.”
The Niobrara River in the northern part of the state may be the right kind of “quiet” for the organizers to consider establishing it as the world’s first “Quiet Trail.”
Gordon Hempton has devoted four decades of his life to documenting quiet places on earth before they disappear. Now, he is devoted to saving the places before they are lost. He is considering including the Niobrara River on his list.
If chosen it will join the likes of other quiet areas recognized for their silent beauty from around the world, such as Spain’s first Urban Quiet Park (Parc del Montnegre i el Corredor, Catalonia, Spain), and Sintra Cascais Natural Park, Portugal. Or the Zabalo River in Ecuador, or the Island of O-ahu, Hawai’i.
Hempton says a four-day trip down the Niobrara River is the first step toward considering declaring it a “Quiet Trail.” He explains it is different than a quiet park. He says this is a journey. It is, he says, a fountain of inspiration and optimism, something “everyone deserves to experience.”
Susan Cook, acting Superintendent of Niobrara National Scenic River with the National Parks Service is excited about being noticed by the international group. She traveled the river with Hempton as he took in the sights and of course - the sounds,pick-ups As did Jenna Bartja, Adventure Travel Specialist for Nebraska Tourism.
Cook says this is a great economic development opportunity for this part of the state.
Bartja helps to develop and assess nature-based assets in Nebraska. She came along on the trip to learn more about Quiet Parks. She says the trip down the Niobrara (her first) made her feel empowered.