Glacier National Park, Montana

Protect Glacier National Park from Air Tour Noise!

Your help is needed by October 3 to protect natural sounds in Glacier National Park, including within its recommended Wilderness. The National Park Service (NPS) and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) are soliciting comments on the draft Air Tour Management Plan (ATMP) for Glacier. Your comments are needed to protect Glacier’s peace and quiet.

Glacier National Park consists of 1,013,839 acres in northern Montana and is bordered to the north by Waterton Lakes National Park in Canada. Together both parks were designated as the world’s first International Peace Park in 1932 and are named Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park. The parks are also designated together as a World Heritage Site and the world’s first Transboundary International Dark Sky Park. The vast majority of Glacier (927,550 acres, or 91% of the Park) is recommended Wilderness and, pursuant to the 2006 NPS Management Policies, is managed in accordance with the 1964 Wilderness Act.

As stated in Glacier Park’s General Management Plan and subsequent planning efforts, the NPS intends to work with FAA to phase out commercial air tours through attrition. Two former air tour operators did surrender their operating certificates in 2021, but three remaining air tour operators continue to fly, accounting for up to 891 flights each year.

Natural sounds are being increasingly drowned out by our machines, making it difficult for humans and wildlife to find quiet, even in some of the most remote places. Many national parks and even Wildernesses are plagued by the intrusion of commercial, low-level “flightseeing” air tours. These flights can be incredibly noisy and shatter the quiet and solitude that many visitors seek and that wildlife needs to survive and thrive. One air tour passenger in a noisy helicopter can disrupt the quiet wilderness experience of all of the visitors on the ground.

Commercial helicopter and fixed-wing air tours are always at odds with experiencing the quiet and solitude of wild places and should be prohibited over national parks and Wilderness. Please urge the NPS to protect Glacier National Park and its recommended Wilderness from the noise and intrusion of commercial air tours. No amount of air tours is acceptable! 

Please comment before the end of October 3 at the NPS’s webform at the following address:

Consider including the following (in your own words, if possible):

  • The noise from air tour operators over Glacier disrupts and diminishes the experience of everyone on the ground. The disproportionately small number of people causing this noise pollution adversely impacts the experience for the large number (majority) of visitors. One simply cannot escape the tour helicopter noise that invades Glacier. It should be eliminated.
  • The draft Air Tour Management Plan (ATMP) contains no sunset date for eliminating the remaining air tour operators. Since Congress passed the National Parks Air Tour Management Act (NPATMA) of 2000, there has been ample opportunity to phase out air tour operators at Glacier. The NPS must include a firm sunset date for ending air tours in the final ATMP
  • The NPS is required to protect solitude and silence for the 91% of Glacier National Park that is recommended Wilderness. The NPS must eliminate the noise from air tour operators in order to provide this protection.
  • When I visit Glacier National Park, I don’t want my experience shattered by the ear-splitting din of these low-flying aircraft, and neither should wildlife be subjected to the stress of low-flying air tours. Such flights are always at odds with experiencing the quiet and solitude of wild places and should be prohibited over our national parks and their wild spaces. 

Thank you for speaking up LOUDLY for quiet in Glacier National Park and its recommended Wilderness!

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