News Release

Public Input Sought on Proposed Air Tour Management Plan for Arches, Canyonlands and Natural Bridges

An aerial photograph shows the swirling cliffs of red, brown, and tan in the Maze District of Canyonlands National Park.
An aerial photograph shows the swirling cliffs of red, brown, and tan in the Maze District of Canyonlands National Park.

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News Release Date: September 3, 2021

Contact: Kaitlyn Thomas, 435-719-2107

MOAB, Utah. — The National Park Service (NPS) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) are seeking public feedback on a draft Air Tour Management Plan (ATMP) that is being proposed for Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park and Natural Bridges National Monument.

The agencies encourage anyone with an interest in or concern about air tours over Arches, Canyonlands, or Natural Bridges to review and comment on the draft ATMP.

Public feedback can be provided through the NPS Planning, Environment and Public Comment (PEPC) website from September 3, 2021 through October 3, 2021. The NPS and FAA will consider comments to help inform the final ATMPs for each park, as well as the National Environmental Policy Act and the National Historic Preservation Act Section 106 review processes. The project websites, which will include public meeting information, are available below.

Arches:

  • The proposed plan would authorize up to 309 air tours per year, which is the average number of flights that occurred over Arches National Park from 2017 – 2019, on four defined routes.

  • A virtual public meeting will be held on September 20 from 4:30 to 6:00 p.m. MDT. Starting September 3, visit the following PEPC link for documents and instructions on how to access the meeting: https://parkplanning.nps.gov/ArchesATMP

 Canyonlands:

  • The proposed plan would authorize up to 367 air tours per year, which is the average number of flights that occurred over Canyonlands National Park from 2017 – 2019, on 13 defined routes.

  • A virtual public meeting will be held on September 22 from 4:30 to 6:00 p.m. MDT. Starting September 3, visit the following PEPC link for documents and instructions on how to access the meeting: https://parkplanning.nps.gov/CanyonlandsATMP

 Natural Bridges:

  • The proposed plan would authorize up to 73 air tours per year, which is the average number of flights that occurred over Natural Bridges National Monument from 2017 – 2019, on five defined routes.

  • A virtual public meeting will be held on September 23 from 4:30 to 6:00 p.m. MDT. Starting September 3, visit the following PEPC link for documents and instructions on how to access the meeting: https://parkplanning.nps.gov/NaturalBridgesATMP

“We value input from our community and encourage anyone interested in air tours over these parks to share their thoughts on the proposed individual plans for Arches, Canyonlands and Natural Bridges,” said Patricia Trap, the park’s superintendent. “The draft plans are based on current operations and reported air tour levels at each park. Their purpose is to ensure that park resource values, including natural sounds, wilderness character, visitor experiences, wildlife, and other natural and cultural resources, are protected.”

Arches, Canyonlands, and Natural Bridges are among 24 parks of the National Park System developing air tour management plans in cooperation with the FAA. The agencies hope to complete all air tour management plans by the end of August 2022. The schedule is part of a plan approved by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit for the agencies to comply with the National Parks Air Tour Management Act of 2000 within two years. 

An important part of the process is the inclusion of American Indian Tribes. The agencies are consulting with Tribes that have tribal lands within or adjacent to these parks, and with Tribes that attach historic and cultural significance to resources within the parks. 

Please visit this NPS website and this FAA website for more detailed information about air tour management plans. Links to meeting notifications, recordings, and slide decks (where applicable) will be posted to the NPS site and the PEPC websites noted above.

The 24 parks:
1. Arches National Park, Utah 
2. Badlands National Park, South Dakota 
3. Bandelier National Monument, New Mexico 
4. Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah 
5. Canyon de Chelly National Monument, Arizona 
6. Canyonlands National Park, Utah 
7. Death Valley National Park, California 
8. Everglades National Park, Florida
9. Glacier National Park, Montana 
10. Glen Canyon National Recreation Area; Arizona, Utah 
11. Golden Gate National Recreation Area, California 
12. Great Smoky Mountains National Park; Tennessee, North Carolina 
13. Haleakalā National Park, Hawai’i 
14. Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park, Hawaiʻi 
15. Lake Mead National Recreation Area; Arizona, Nevada 
16. Mount Rainier National Park, Washington 
17. Muir Woods National Monument, California 
18. Mount Rushmore National Memorial, South Dakota 
19. Natural Bridges National Monument, Utah 
20. National Parks of New York Harbor Management Unit; New York, New Jersey 
21. Olympic National Park, Washington 
22. Point Reyes National Seashore, California 
23. Rainbow Bridge National Monument, Utah
24. San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, California 

-NPS-



Last updated: September 3, 2021

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