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FAA adds insult to injury with new Grand Canyon flight permits

February 10, 2014

Eighteen months after Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Harry Reid (D-NV) joined forces to undermine the National Park Service’s Grand Canyon air tour management plan just before it was set to go into effect, the Federal Aviation Administration apparently feels that the discounted per-flight fee for quiet aircraft is not incentive enough to encourage the […]

McCain, Reid succeed in quest to stop Grand Canyon overflight rules

July 2, 2012

I guess the third time was the charm for John McCain in his relentless quest to undermine the National Park Service’s decades-long effort to slightly reduce aircraft overflight impacts in the Grand Canyon backcountry.  Since the NPS released its draft plan several months ago, McCain had crafted amendments to a couple of pieces of legislation […]

Teens with hearing loss explore the Grand Canyon

August 29, 2011

A group of 17 teens with mixed hearing ability (most with significant hearing loss) recently took a five-day river trip down the Grand Canyon as part of a program entitled Hear the World Sound Academy: Amplifying the Grand Canyon.  The Sound Academy students traveled with Bill Barkeley, a world-class mountain climber and one of the 15,000 […]

Congressmen aim to derail Grand Canyon air tour rules

July 29, 2011

As regular readers will know, the National Park Service completed an epic planning process earlier this year when it released proposed rules governing air tours at Grand Canyon National Park.  After over two decades of discussion, including a failed attempt at coming to a consensus decision with all parties a few years back, NPS planners […]

McCain amendment aims to undercut Grand Canyon noise reduction plan

February 17, 2011

Senator John McCain has introduced legislation that would derail the National Park Service’s recently-released compromise plan to reduce noise levels in the Grand Canyon.  McCain’s initiative, apparently included in an amendment to another bill (details are sketchy so far, with nothing on McCain’s website so far), would declare that keeping half of Grand Canyon National […]

NPS calls for sunrise/sunset no-fly times at Grand Canyon

February 3, 2011

The National Park Service has released its proposed air tour management rules for the Grand Canyon.  Key features of the plan include increased flight altitudes near North Rim overlooks, reducing flights in Marble Canyon, moving routes away from some key visitor use areas, and establishing an hour-long flight-free period for an hour after sunrise and […]

Will Senate swallow McCain’s bait on last-minute Grand Canyon overflight intervention?

March 22, 2010

UPDATE 3/25: In response to a quick wave of outrage on editorial pages and some Park Service lobbying, Senator McCain has withdrawn his proposed amendment.  It remains to be seen whether he will let the NPS EIS process set the final rules, or seek to have the Senate write rules if the process lags or […]

Obama family visit grounds Grand Canyon air tours, as NPS forges ahead with new plan in wake of consensus group failure to agree

September 16, 2009

After eight years of struggling to bring conflicting interest groups together to support a consensus alternative for managing air tours at Grand Canyon National Park, an FAA-organized Grand Canyon Working Group has adjourned indefinitely.  The Working Group included NPS, FAA, tribal, environmental, and aviation industry representatives. At the Working Group’s last meeting, in late June, the GCWG […]

National Park air tours restricted at sunrise and sunset for first time

July 22, 2015

It’s not much, but it’s a start.  The troubled FAA/NPS collaborative planning process has completed an actual final plan to manage air tours at a national park.  But don’t get too excited: it’s not a full-on Air Tour Management Plan, as was the goal for all national parks with sightseeing flights when the two agencies […]

FAA spurns opportunity for quiet area protection in traffic pattern updates

June 30, 2015

A new Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) effort to modernize air traffic flow around major cities is ignoring the chance to do slight re-routing that would minimize air traffic over dwindling areas of natural quiet.  The FAA is in the midst of a multi-year process to update the traffic patterns in and out of airports in 17 metropolitan areas.  Each “metroplex” […]

Noise issues featured on annual “top stories” lists

January 2, 2015

Every December, local papers around the country routinely highlight the top stories of the year gone by.  Based solely on AEI’s routine Google News keyword results, it appears that noise-related issues were among the major topics in several areas. Wind farm noise issues made the lists in at least two places.  In Van Wert County, Ohio, it […]

NPS to study how soundscape quality affects park visitors

September 6, 2013

For over a decade, the National Park Service has been on the forefront of public lands agencies in addressing the role of sound and noise on both wildlife and park visitors.  NPS’s Natural Sounds and Night Skies Division has catalyzed baseline acoustic monitoring in seventeen parks, and carried out groundbreaking research on the effects of […]

Mt. Rainier air tour planning: a rare case of “not to late”

May 3, 2011

At most of the places where the National Park Service and FAA have commenced air tour management planning (ATMP), there is already a deeply entrenched local air tour economy, as well as a visitor expectation that they can take flight in order to see the beauty from above.  The Grand Canyon is of course the […]

Great piece on noise and other regs in National Parks Traveller

March 17, 2011

The National Parks Traveller blog recently ran a great piece titled Give Us A National Park, Please, But Not its Regulations.  Here’s the lead: We love our national parks. We love the wildlife they hold, the seashores with their sparkling sands, the forests with their wildlife and hiking trails, the soaring red-rock cliffs and plunging […]

Muir Woods succeeds in restoring natural quiet

February 23, 2011

Great article in the New York Times on the strides made at Muir Woods, just north of San Francisco, in restoring natural quiet. At times, deep within this vaulted chamber of redwoods, it is almost quiet enough to hear a banana slug slither by. For the National Park Service, that stillness is as vital a […]

Special soundscape-focused issue of Park Science magazine

February 3, 2010

This came out in December, but I forgot to post about it then.  The National Park Service’s science magazine has published an entire issue devoted to the NPS’s soundscape studies and programs. Articles include: Measuring and monitoring soundscapes in the national parks Integrating soundscapes into NPS planning Conserving the wild life therein–Protecting park fauna from […]

Death Valley in Queue for FAA Air Tour Management Planning

August 4, 2009

Death Valley has become the sixth National Park to initiate a formal Air Tour Management Plan process since the 2000 passage of legislation mandating such plans in National Parks with commercial helicopter or plane overflights.  It’s the first new plan to begin since 2004, when similar planning began at Lake Mead, Mt. Rushmore, and Badlands National […]