Park Overflights

Air tours of national parks, while exciting for passengers, are also noisy and usually low-flying, adversely affecting both wildlife and park visitors, as well as residents in gateway communities.

For the past two decades, the FAA has been issuing interim approvals that essentially have grandfathered-in existing flight levels. The FAA has also sought voluntary agreements with tour operators who had little reason to consent to reduced flights because they had no reason to fear mandatory restrictions, until now.

Under terms of the National Park Air Tour Management Act (NPTMA) of 2000, the FAA and the National Park Service were supposed to establish rules governing the number, routes, and schedules of helicopter and fixed-wing park tourist overflights with two years. Twenty years later, not a single such plan has been adopted.

It took a court order to end decades of foot-dragging against reining in the thousands of noisy tourist overflights buzzing across national parks. Now, the first two National Park Air Tour Management Plans have been finalized but a score more parks will miss a court-ordered deadline altogether and many of those will be incomplete, lacking legally required environmental reviews.

Plans to limit park overflights must be put in place in order to protect national parks from being loved to death.

Change is Possible! National Parks Reclaim Their Skies

PEER started working on this issue after Glacier National Park found itself unable to curb incessant helicopter traffic even during mating seasons or when they were hovering over areas where wildlife needed to be undisturbed.

We discovered that the National Park Air Tour Management Act of 2000, which was supposed to protect Glacier and other parks from constant, noisy overflights, had never been implemented.

Read the full story»


Skies Above Mt. Rushmore & Badlands to Remain Quiet

8th Circuit Rejects Helicopter Tour Industry Attempt to Stay Overflight Ban

“P” in PEER Also Stands for Persistent

Persistence pays off for PEER even in the battle for the skies of national parks.

Change is Possible! National Parks Reclaim Their Skies

The first serious inroads have been made into curbing swarms of commercial air tours rumbling across some of ...

Sharp Reduction of Air Tours Slated for Two Hawaii Parks

Current Incessant Overflight Levels Deemed Incompatible with Park Values

Commercial Air Tours to End at Mt. Rushmore & Badlands

Continued Swarms of Overflights Deemed Incompatible with Park Values

San Francisco Parks Overflight Limits Grossly Inadequate

Suit Charges Air Tour Plan for Four Bay Area Parks Developed Illegally

COMMENTARY | Park Service’s Inhumane Inertia

The Biden administration has left several disastrous Trump policies in place - from allowing inhumane hunting ...

COMMENTARY | Glacier Skies to Finally Go Quiet

The path to serenity in the skies above all national parks is no longer subject to the demands of commercial ...

National Park Air Tour Plans Late and Off-Course

First 2 Overflight Limits OKed; 20 Behind Schedule, Most Lack Eco-Reviews

Court Puts National Park Overflights on Tight Leash

Agencies Taken to Task for Violating Air Tour Management Plan Deadlines

FAA Blows Court Deadlines for Park Air Tour Limits

Overflight Plans for 8 Major National Parks Due This August Not Close

FAA Off Course on National Park Air Tour Plans 

No Environmental or Noise Assessments Inform Draft Management Plans  

Long-Delayed Curbs on Noisy Park Overflights Slated  

FAA Posts Air Tour Management Plan Schedule Covering 23 National Parks  

Court Orders Limits on National Park Air Tours

Within Two Years 23 National Parks Must Adopt Overflight Management Plans

Promised Crackdown On Park Overflights Yet To Take Off

Facing Lawsuit, FAA and Park Service Vow Action after Years of Impasse

Lawsuit to Ground Excessive National Park Overflights

FAA Faulted for Failure to Implement 2000 Law for Management of Park Air Tours
Phone: 202-265-7337

962 Wayne Avenue, Suite 610
Silver Spring, MD 20910-4453

Copyright 2001–2024 Public Employees for
Environmental Responsibility

PEER is a 501(c)(3) organization
EIN: 93-1102740