The Use of Aircraft, Helicopters, or Gliders Is Strictly Regulated in Most National Parks
Wildlife nesting habitat, expectation of solitude in wilderness areas, and safety are primary considerations with regard to overflight activities. Even aerial filming is rarely allowed and extremely restricted in most parks.
Even in the event of wildfires, NPS policy on fire suppression conducted in wilderness, including the categories of designated, recommended, potential, proposed, and wilderness study areas, is expressed in section 6.3.9 of Management Policies 2006. That section states that all suppression actions will be consistent with the “minimum requirement” concept in section 6.3.5 of those policies and the Wilderness Act of 1964 codified at 16 U.S.C. 1133 (c). The minimum requirement concept, as expressed in the Wilderness Act, directs:
“...[E]xcept as necessary to meet the minimum requirements for the administration of the area... (including measures required in emergencies involving the health and safety of persons within the area), there shall be no temporary road, no use of motor vehicles, motorized equipment or motorboats, no landing of aircraft, no other form of mechanical transport, and no structure or installation within any such area.” Wilderness Act Section 4(c), 1964, 16 U.S.C. 1133 (c)
Park managers who contemplate the use of aircraft or other motorized equipment or mechanical transportation within wilderness consider the impacts to the character, aesthetics, and traditions of wilderness before considering the costs and efficiency of the equipment.
“No permanent heliports, helipads, or airstrips will be allowed in wilderness unless specifically authorized by statute or legislation. Temporary landing facilities may be used to meet the minimum requirements of emergency situations. Site improvements determined to be essential for safety reasons during individual emergency situations may be authorized, but no site markings or improvements of any kind may be installed to support nonemergency use. In Alaska, any prohibitions or restrictions on the use of fixed-wing aircraft should follow the procedures in 43 CFR 36.11(f).” Management Policies, 2006 Chap. 6 Wilderness Preservation and Management