RRFW Riverwire – NPS Taking Comments on Grand Canyon Overflight Noise
March 29, 2011
After thirty years of complaints that air tour noise over Grand Canyon is
too loud, and decades of planning, studies, court cases and attempts at
special interest legislation, Grand Canyon National Park has just released a
Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) on protecting natural quiet in
Grand Canyon. The DEIS is called the Special Flight Rules Area in the
Vicinity of Grand Canyon National Park.
The public has until June 20, 2011, to comment on the plan.
A short video on overflights in Grand Canyon is now available on the River
Runners for Wilderness web site here: About | River Runners For Wilderness
River Runners for Wilderness encourages you to take a few minutes to protect
our iconic Grand Canyon National Park. Your brief note explaining how the
park’s natural quiet is important to you will help the Park Service do the
right thing. In your own words, you might note:
- The parks were created to protect natural resources, including natural
quiet. The parks were not created to promote commercial industries that
adversely impact visitor experience of the Park’s natural resources.
- The Park should not allow an increase in overflights. To do so will take
away the Park’s ability to allow the public to hear natural quiet, an
endangered resource in today’s world.
- In our industrialized society, it is important that we save a few places
for contemplative recreation. Tourists from around the world come to
America’s national parks as they are the best place for contemplative
recreation and personal renewal. Decreasing the number of overflights over
Grand Canyon will help preserve this resource.
- Tribal lands at the west and east ends of the Grand Canyon will be exempt
from annual flight allocations and daily caps. As these lands are
increasingly impacted by more tour rides, it is even more important to
protect peace and quiet inside the boundaries of Grand Canyon National Park.
- All other recreation, including permits for river running, hiking,
overnight visitation at Phantom Ranch and mule rides, has all been capped
for decades to protect park resources. Since 1975, the number of air tour
rides has increased almost tenfold. Tell the NPS the number of overflights
should be reduced to the 1975 levels, when Congress first indicated there
was a problem through the passage of the Grand Canyon Enlargement Act.
- The 1987 Overflights Act dictates that there shall be no flights below the
rim, yet flights are still allowed well below the rim. The Park Service
should implement and enforce the law with no tour or passenger shuttle
flights below the rim.
- Encourage the NPS to increase the curfews (sunrise to first flight, and
last flight to sundown) from as little as 14 minutes currently, to one hour.
The air tour industry has considerable political clout. River runners who
find natural quiet in Grand Canyon a valuable resource need to counter the
air tour industry’s push for more intrusive, noisy rides. There are several
ways for you to comment:
The EIS can be reviewed at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/grca
by clicking on
“Open for Comment” and then clicking on the special Flight Rules item for
the Grand Canyon. This page lists the documents and provides a “Comment on
Or, you can mail comments to:
Office of Planning and Compliance
Grand Canyon National Park
PO Box 129, Grand Canyon, AZ 86023
The NPS will be holding open house meetings where you may also make your
Phoenix AZ, Wednesday April 6, 2011, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the
Embassy Suites Phoenix Biltmore, Junior Ballroom, 2630 E. Camelback Rd.,
Flagstaff, AZ, Thursday, April 7, 2011, from 4:30p.m. to 6:30 p.m. High
Country Conference Center, 1899 Room, 201 W. Butler Ave. Flagstaff, Arizona.
Henderson, NV, Thursday, April 14, 2011, from 4:30p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Wingate by Wyndham, Wingate Ballroom, 3041 Saint Rose Parkway, Henderson,
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