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Contact: Penny Wagner
OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK, Wash. – The National Park Service (NPS) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) completed an air tour management plan for Olympic National Park on July 19, 2022. The plan establishes measures to protect park resources including natural and cultural resources, preservation of wilderness character, and visitor experience.
“The purpose of the air tour plan is to ensure that park resources and values in Olympic National Park, including natural sounds, wilderness character, visitor experiences, wildlife, and other natural and cultural resources, are protected,” said Mike Gauthier, Olympic National Park acting Superintendent.
Commercial air tours have occurred over Olympic National Park for more than thirty years without defined operating parameters. The air tour management plan protects national park resources and values by providing continued education and management oversight.
The plan authorizes up to 64 air tours per year on a defined route conducted over the park and up to ½-mile outside the park boundary. There were on average 64 air tours per year reported at Olympic National Park from 2017 – 2019.
The plan’s operating parameters will be effective within 90 days from the date of signature on the air tour management plan.
Olympic National Park is among 24 parks in the National Park System for which the agencies are developing air tour management plans. Each air tour management plan is developed to allow air tours to be managed in a way that is consistent with the NPS mission and the FAA’s authority to ensure flight safety. The plans meet the requirements in 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 visitor enjoyment.
An important part of the process is the inclusion of American Indian Tribes. The agencies consulted with Tribes that have tribal lands within or adjacent to Olympic National Park, and with Tribes that attach historic and cultural significance to resources within the park.
The final air tour management plan is available at the NPS Park Planning site. Please visit this NPS site and this FAA site for more detailed information about air tour management plans.
Last updated: July 20, 2022