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SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. — The National Park Service (NPS) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) completed a combined air tour management plan for Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Muir Woods National Monument, San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, and Point Reyes National Seashore on January 11, 2023. The plan establishes measures to protect all four parks’ resources including natural and cultural resources, and visitor experience.
“The purpose of the combined air tour plan is to ensure that San Francisco Bay Area parks’ resource values, including natural sounds, visitor experiences, wildlife, and other natural and cultural resources, are protected in national parks where air tours occur.” said David Schifsky, Golden Gate National Recreation Area Acting General Superintendent.
Commercial air tours have occurred over the San Francisco Bay Area parks for many years without defined operating parameters. The air tour management plan protects national park resources and values by providing continued education and management oversight. The air tours will be conducted over the park and up to ½-mile outside the park’s boundary. The plan authorizes up to 2,548 air tours per year over Golden Gate National Recreation Area and San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park on defined routes, with up to 143 of these commercial air tours per year permitted to fly over Point Reyes National Seashore. No commercial air tours are authorized over Muir Woods National Monument.
There were on average 2,548 air tours per year reported over Golden Gate National Recreation Area and San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park from 2017 – 2019 and an average of 143 air tours per year reported over Point Reyes National Seashore from 2017 – 2019. No air tours were reported over Muir Woods National Monument from 2017-2019. The operating parameters of the plan will be effective within 90 days from the date of signature on the air tour management plan.
Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Muir Woods National Monument, San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, and Point Reyes National Seashore are among 24 parks in the National Park System for which the agencies are developing an air tour management plan or voluntary agreement. Each air tour management plan is developed to allow air tours to be managed in a way that is consistent with the NPS’s mission and the FAA’s authority to ensure flight safety. The plans meet the requirements from the National Parks Air Tour Management Act to mitigate or prevent significant adverse impacts from commercial air tours on the park and NPS’s obligation to protect the park's natural and cultural resources, wildlife, and the visitor enjoyment.
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 the Bay Area Parks, and with Tribes that attach historic and cultural significance to resources within the parks.
The final air tour management plan is available at this site. Please visit this NPS site and this FAA site for more detailed information about air tour management plans.
About the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 423 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at www.nps.gov, and on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.
Last updated: January 17, 2023