Badlands National Park is the latest park to shut down air tours. The plan prohibits tours over the park and surrounding area by plane or helicopter. The change starts early next year.
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“We appreciate the work and engagement of the many stakeholders that worked with us on the development of the Badlands National Park Air Tour Management Plan. Prohibiting commercial air tours protects the cultural and spiritual significance of these lands to Tribes, and is reflective of the experience desired by visitors,” said Badlands Superintendent Eric Veach in the park’s press release.
Mount Rushmore National Memorial, which is located in South Dakota along with Badlands, has announced the same policy. The rules keep commercial air tours at least a half-mile from the boundary of the sites with no flights overhead.
Both sites used public comment and feedback from the NPS, FAA, and local Tribal land officials to determine the best course of action.
Glacier National Park also announced plans to block air tours. However, the policy will slowly take effect. Glacier officials signed the new policy in 2022. Park officials will slowly phase out commercial flights until the complete ban goes into effect in 2029.
Mount Rushmore and Badlands will see an end to commercial air tours in the next 180 days.
What do you think? Should air tours be banned in national parks and other similar areas?
If you’re looking for alternative ways to explore a national park, check out all the options in the Everglades.