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
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