Artists stress conservation of Zion, Arches, other Utah national parks

Far from the roar of the crowds bustling round the bottom of Zion Nationwide Park, 53-year-old John Roach hikes the canyons outfitted with a chunk of drugs important to his job — a latex balloon.

With microphones in tow and all of his senses on excessive alert, Roach hikes to a clearing in search of sound — the form of sound that characterizes the park. 

When he finds it, he stops, respiratory within the sound of cracking ice and rustling lifeless leaves within the winter wind.

After which, with a needle in hand and microphones on, he pops the white balloon as a booming synthetic echo swirls off the rock faces round him and latex items fall to the canyon ground just like the melting snow.

Layers of sound rush into the microphone, a testomony to the layers of rock off which the sound waves bounced.