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Mount Rushmore Helo Tours Restricted to 1/2 Mile

New Air Tour Management Plan Goes Into Effect in 180 Days

The National Park Service and the FAA have published their now complete air tour management plan for Mount Rushmore. All flights must stay 1/2 sm away from park boundaries, or 5,000 ft AGL.

The plan isn't a surprise to local operators, being the stuff of years-long controversy thanks to the park's confluence of indigenous lands, controversial custody, overt politicism, and increasing crowds.

"These measures are designed to protect the park's natural and cultural resources, Tribal sacred sites and ceremonial areas, and visitor experience, within the ATMP boundary. The plan's operating parameters will be effective within 180 days from the date of signature. Mount Rushmore National Memorial is one of the parks in the National Park System for which the agencies are developing an air tour management plan or voluntary agreement. Each air tour management plan is developed to manage commercial air tours in a way that is consistent with the NPS's mission, the individual park's purposes, and the FAA's authority with respect to aviation safety."

“We appreciate the engagement of the many stakeholders that worked with us on the development of the Mount Rushmore National Memorial Air Tour Management Plan. Prohibiting commercial air tours will protect the cultural and spiritual significance of these lands to Tribes and will provide a peaceful setting for visitors to enjoy and experience,” said Mount Rushmore Superintendent Michelle Wheatley. The change is seen by non-aerial tourers as a nice way to help appreciate the vista without the thrum and visual offense of aircraft in the way. 

FMI: www.parkplanning.nps.gov

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