Away from roads and developed areas, the sight and sound of aircraft are often the only perceptible human impact. Some of the very areas where the potential for solitude and natural quiet is greatest are places where aircraft noise may be most intrusive. Noise affects the experiences of park visitors as well as wildlife, whether a rafter drifting through a canyon, or a pika listening for warning calls. Park managers must consider these impacts when making decisions that affect the management of natural soundscapes.
The Federal Aviation Administration manages all U.S airspace. Established in 2000, the Overflights Program is jointly administered by NPS in partnership with FAA to prevent or reduce impacts from low-flying air tours. The program also provides assistance for other issues related to military overflights, airport capacity projects, airspace redesign, and use of unmanned aircraft systems over NPS units.
The NPS develops air tour management agreements with air tour operators and the FAA to protect park resources and visitor use.
Unmanned Aircraft Systems
The NPS crafts policies for use of unmanned aircraft in parks, including purposes of research or administration.
The NPS facilitates communication and interaction with military services to promote collaborative problem solving and enhanced cooperation.