Bureaucratic difficulties and delays stalled compliance with law. The national nonprofit Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility sued in 2018 to force the adoption of air tour management plans. The group ultimately won an order that was upheld by an appeals court in 2020, which led to a wave of plan adoptions at Park Service sites across the country.
When draft versions of the Rushmore and Badlands plans were released in May, Jeff Ruch, of the public employees group, celebrated the move as the culmination of decades’ worth of effort.
“National parks are now on the verge of reclaiming control over their skies,” Ruch said.