The National Park Service (NPS) is developing air tour management plans for national parks, including some with outstanding Wildernes and potential Wilderness, such as Mount Rainier, Olympic, Everglades, Death Valley, and Glacier.
Natural sounds are being increasingly drowned out by our machines, making it difficult for humans and wildlife to find quiet, even in some of the most remote places. Many national parks and even Wildernesses are plagued by the intrusion of commercial, low-level “flightseeing” air tours. These flights can be incredibly noisy and shatter the quiet and solitude that many visitors seek and that wildlife needs to survive and thrive.
The plans permits some number of air tours to fly over Wilderness, while failing to disclose the impacts of the proposed flights and offer alternatives. The Park Service needs to uphold its obligation to protect Wilderness and the parks by instead providing the public with a “no flight” alternative to comment on in each national park, rather than only soliciting public comments on allowing some level of air tours.
Commercial helicopter and fixed-wing air tours are always at odds with experiencing the quiet and solitude of wild places and should be prohibited over national parks and Wilderness. No amount of air tours is acceptable!
Photo: National Park Service
Wilderness Watch is supporting a number of changes the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) is proposing in and around the Wichita Mountains Wilderness that would help restore more natural conditions. FWS’s good proposals would specifically improve and protect the Charons Garden Wilderness unit at the Wichita Mountains Wilderness.
In response to a surge in use and associated impacts, the U.S. Forest Service (FS) is proposing a fee-based permit system for camping in a number of places in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness in Colorado. Wilderness Watch supports quotas to reduce impacts and protect wildlife and solitude for visitors, so we feel the FS is justified in proposing quotas in this case. However, turning the quota system into a plan to charge $12 per day just to visit Wilderness is both inappropriate and…
On July 22, 2021, Wilderness Watch and allies filed suit in the U.S. District Court for Montana asking for a preliminary injunction and/or temporary restraining order to halt the State of Montana’s North Fork Blackfoot Westslope Cutthroat Trout Project—a massive stream poisoning and fish stocking project in the Scapegoat Wilderness