NPS considers plans that could limit Mount Rushmore air tours

Public input needed for Mount Rushmore and Badlands National Park air tour management plans.

BLACK HILLS, S.D. — The National Park Service and the Federal Aviation Administration are seeking public comments on potential alternatives for an air tour management plans for Mount Rushmore National Memorial and Badlands National Park.

Public comments will be accepted during a 30-day public scoping process starting Sept. 6 and ending Oct. 6.

Both Mount Rushmore National Memorial and Badlands National Park are developing air tour management plans in cooperation with the FAA, and the plans are 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. Plans will meet the requirements of 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.

Commercial air tours have occurred over Mount Rushmore National Memorial for many years without defined operating parameters. The potential alternatives for Mount Rushmore National Memorial include no change from current conditions, a daily limit of 25 air tours with additional modifications, a daily limit of 13 air tours with additional modifications, and prohibiting air tours over or within a half-mile of the park.

The public can submit comments here for Mount Rushmore, and here for Badlands National Park.

The agencies encourage anyone with an interest in or concern about air tours over Mount Rushmore and Badlands National Park to review and comment on the potential alternatives, which will be evaluated in an upcoming environmental assessment for the parks’ Air Tour Management Plan.

Incorporating input from Tribal nations and individuals is an important part of this planning process. The agencies are consulting with Tribes to whom park resources have historic and cultural significance.

Anyone wanting more detailed information about air tour management plans can visit the NPS site or the FAA site.

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