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Thread: noise pollution

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2006

    Default noise pollution

    I am interested in learning if other fly-fishers and visitors to our GSMNP are as troubled as I by the ever increasing number of overly loud motorcycles. Now before everyone gets their tippet in a knot, I want to reiterate the words overly loud. I am sure one of the best ways to enjoy our mountains is on the back of a motorcycle, but the bikes I’m asking you to comment on are the ones so loud as to be considered noise pollution, not the properly muffled average street bike. I would also not limit this to motorcycles…automobiles that are not properly muffled should be addressed as well.

    I almost never fish the main body of the Little River anymore for just this reason. Our mountains are such a beautiful and serene place to come and shake off the rest of our world. Then the peace and sound of the river is completely obliterated by the sound of a motorcycle you can hear from over 300 yards away…then when it’s closer, the rider gives you the obligatory rev of the engine…nice.

    Why has the National Park Service not instituted regulations controlling this noise pollution? Could it be because the average income of the American Harley Davidson owner is in excess of $75k/yr? I hope not. I know, I know…it’s not just Harley’s…that is the only data I could come up with. My point is if local municipalities can ticket teen-agers for their loud car stereos, why can’t our National Park Service do the same. Enforcement?? Sure, there are not enough rangers already…but if the penalty was substantial enough, it would probably discourage the vast majority of the guilty. I’m sure I’m opening up a can of worms here…but I would really appreciate your response. If there are enough like minded visitors to the park, maybe we can effect change.

    Tight Lines everyone…
    Rusty Hook

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2006

    Default Re: noise pollution

    Rusty Hook, I agree with you about the bike noise! The excessive noise could be eliminated by the riders and most likely would be if they were made aware and reminded of the possibility of it annoying others by having signs posted along the park's right-of-ways saying something like "excessive noise pollutes, too", or "quiet area", or "minimum noise area", or something to that effect. After all there are quite a number of roadside signs in the park showing "quiet walk-way" suggesting a similar idea.

    I have been riding and owning motorcycles for about 40 years, (mostly Harleys) and still do not like those noisey unbaffled mufflers! Of the thousands of very nice folks that I have met biking I cannot think of but just a very few that would not agree to willingly putting forth a serious effort to being quieter while in the park if signs suggest it.

    As far as bikers making 75 grand or more a year, thanks for the compliment!
    Your point there is well made, for the manufacturers both U.S and foreign have spent millions upgrading the image of bike owners and have succeeded in doing so, particularly Harley-Davidson. It is truly amazing to have witnessed this change from the riders being looked at with a jaundiced eye by the public at large to one of being looked at now with "I sure wish I could afford a Harley!" Hollywood created those earlier bad reputations starting with Marlon Brando as a maverick/outlaw type and then followed with the ****'s Angels glorification movies.

    But: 'Tain't true not more'. As an example, I met up on Clingman's Dome area Saturday a former Lt. Governor from Florida on his Harley. He was meeting the Motorcycle Escort from a Florida Shrine Temple...twenty of lead them on a trip to show them our area!

    Additonally, Bikers do, indeed, bring a lot of money to our local economy individually as well as during their many large events and rallies.

    And some of them, like me, have chosen to move up here where retirement let's me do the three activities that I love most: Flyfish in the Park, ride my Harleys on these beautiful mountain roads and live among and meet such friendly people that live here, fish here, ride here and operate their Paula, Byron and Danial.

    Would you do us all a favor and make a suggestion to the GSMNP officials to put up some signs?

    May 'they' strike often for you!!!


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Seymour, TN

    Default Re: noise pollution

    I totally agree that the noise pollution from overly loud motorcycles and cars is out of control. I do not think the NPS will post signs though. I suggested a few years ago to the NPS biologist to post signs in the picnic areas about trash prevention and not damming the river beds for tubing channels. They said the NPS does not want signage because it is unattractive to visitors. I guess trash and siltation is better. I feel it would be very hard to get the park service to initiate a low decibel noise regulation and getting people to install temporary muffling devices on their vehicles. Soon there will be nowhere to get away from it all.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Lenoir City, TN

    Default Spotted in Cades Cove

    Electronics have come a long way...

    “Joe” Fred Turner
    Southern Appalachian Stream Maps

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Bloomington, IN


    Doesn't really bother me. If I don't want to hear noise I just walk a bit further away from the road or go to a less traveled area of the park.

    Pretty much a given that 441 and LR road are going to be fairly loud, even if only road noise from tires.

    That said, consideration from some riders/drivers to try to keep the revs lower would probably go a long way.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Maryville, TN


    Actually I do a lot of backpacking miles off the roads and can still hear the motorcycles you guys are talking about there. If you think you can escape it going into the backcountry you are sadly mistaken. Maybe right next to a roaring stream but walk a few hundred yards away or hike a ridge top and you will hear them plain as day. Lots of times its just the sound of the wind, a stream in the hollow below, and some fool on an unmufflered bike 4 miles away who thinks he is a big man and needs attention with his loud bike. I think they should fine the **** out of those idiots.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Mooresville, NC


    Fishing the Oconaluftee, in particular, can be a bit unpleasant with all the loud bikes and the burning brake smell.
    Wild troutin, blue linin, fly flingin, camo wearin, redneckin elitist.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Bean Blossom, Indiana


    I'd like to comment here if I may. I agree with those who posted objecting to the motorcycle noise.

    First of all, on this quote: "I suggested a few years ago to the NPS biologist to post signs in the picnic areas about trash prevention and not damming the river beds for tubing channels."

    Both these activities are against the laws governing the GSMNP, with severe penalties if caught doing so! People don't respect the laws! The rules! Or anybody else's rights for that matter!

    They are in the "wild, wild west"! The rangers are usually attending to matters of a higher priority or a myriad of other stupid things people do and hardly have time to enforce the rules, when every kid in the campground is doing it, despite the signs to the contrary, when their parents let them do whatever they want.

    One year, I pointed out to a ranger when I flagged him down, that there were seven people "stealing" river rocks out of the Bradley Fork and putting them in the trunk of their full size sedan. The adults were promptly arrested for theft and their teenage children were ticketed! If I hadn't pushed the issue and I mean pushed to the limit, nothing would have been done.

    Most of the promotion for the thousands and thousands of motorcycles comes from the Qualla boundary and their festivals. Not all, but most. Its spill over. The Qualla boundary is getting the money the bikers spend and the park the fallout of noise.

    I am a biker, ride a souped up 1200 Harley Sporster, that can be as loud as a bad thunderstorm. I can also ride it in a manner that would barely suggest I'm even around. My choice, and I don't feel the need to "raise ****" but every once in a long while. My exhaust pipes are as legal as they can be, even in a big city.

    The reason most Harley's are made loud is because "they get noticed" and by that I mean, from the standpoint of safety, "they get noticed" and are looked for. Make noise and heads will turn, brains will re-engage.

    Most drivers of cars are very dangerous in the way they drive these days and tend to run over, force off the road, pull out in front of, stop too quickly in front of, run stop signs, run traffic signals, swerve in front of, pass on double yellow lines, pass on curves, etc. These are things, and I am not exaggerating, that I see and have to avoid every time I get on my bike. The same people will do these things to other cars, trucks, and even tractor trailers. They're in their magic, air conditioned, techno-bubble sedan, so they are fearless.... my take... just plain brainless.

    The National Park system is the "peoples" parks and you're always going to have a disrespectful bad element in any group of people.

    I have never ridden my bike in the Smokies. If I ever do, I promise, it will come in on a trailer to the campground and it will be ridden in the quietest manner possible out of respect to all the other fisherman, hikers, nature lovers, picnicker's, and anyone else who might happen to be in the park. It's just the right thing to do!

    Get involved, make your voice heard, but please don't suggest a "police state" as a means to solving the problems! The rules that exist are not enforced now! Neither will any new ones!

    Maybe all that loud noise helps to keep the bears in the woods and not on the roads. Just sayin...

    __________________________________________________ _
    Blue skies, warm gentle winds, and trout filled waters to all!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    North Georgia


    I am in total agreement with WhiteFeather. that is all. - - The Internet's Only "Fishertainment" Website

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Andersonville, TN


    Quote Originally Posted by whitefeather View Post
    One year, I pointed out to a ranger when I flagged him down, that there were seven people "stealing" river rocks out of the Bradley Fork and putting them in the trunk of their full size sedan. The adults were promptly arrested for theft and their teenage children were ticketed! If I hadn't pushed the issue and I mean pushed to the limit, nothing would have been done.
    Thanks for grabbing the ranger! That is one that really bugs me.

    jasonkelkins at yahoo dot com

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