Sipapu Bridge in Natural Bridges National Monument as viewed from above. Photo shows the tan slickrock of the natural bridge with a green ribbon of trees underneath and clear blue skies overhead.

Air Tour Management Plan

Natural Bridges National Monument » Air Tour Management Plan » Document List

The National Park Service (NPS) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) completed an air tour management plan for Natural Bridges National Monument on October 21, 2022. The plan establishes measures to protect park resources, including outstanding geologic, ecologic, and cultural resources, and preservation of wilderness character and visitor experience.

Commercial air tours have occurred over Natural Bridges for many years without defined operating parameters. The air tour management plan will protect national park resources and values by providing management oversight and continued education.

The Natural Bridges plan authorizes up to 73 air tours per year on five defined routes conducted over the park and up to ½-mile outside the park's boundary. There were on average 73 air tours per year reported over Natural Bridges National Monument from 2017 - 2019.

The operating parameters of the plan will be effective within 90 days from the date of signature on the air tour management plans.

Natural Bridges is among 24 parks in the National Park System for which the FAA and NPS are developing air tour management plans. Each air tour management plan is developed to allow air tours to be managed in a way that is consistent with the NPS's mission and the FAA's authority to ensure flight safety. The plans meet the requirements from the National Parks Air Tour Management Act to mitigate or prevent significant adverse impacts from commercial air tours on the park and NPS's obligation to protect the park's natural and cultural resources, wildlife, and visitor enjoyment.

An important part of the process is the inclusion of Traditionally Associated American Indian Tribes. The agencies consulted with Tribes that attach historic and cultural significance to resources within the parks. The plans include measures that are protective of Tribal use of the parks.