National Park Service Bay Area Air Tour Management Plan (ATMP)

Golden Gate National Recreation Area » National Park Service Bay Area Air Tour Management Plan (ATMP) » Document List

The National Park Service (NPS) and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) have prepared a draft Air Tour Management Plan (ATMP) for Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Muir Woods National Monument, San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, and Point Reyes National Seashore (Parks). The draft ATMP delineates acceptable levels of commercial air tours, including, but not limited to, frequency, duration, altitude, and routes, consistent with the National Parks Air Tour Management Act of 2000.

The draft ATMP can be accessed by clicking on the "Document List" link on the left side of the screen. Comments can be submitted by clicking on the "Comment Now" button after you open the document. See the address at the bottom of this page for information on how to submit written comments. The plan is open for public review through November 15th, 2021.

Proposed Action:

Commercial air tours are currently conducted over the parks as described under the "Existing Conditions" section below. The proposed action is to implement an Air Tour Management Plan (ATMP) that would delineate acceptable levels of commercial air tours including, but not limited to, frequency, duration, altitude, and routes, consistent with the National Parks Air Tour Management Act of 2000 (Act). Congress developed the Act out of concern that noise from tour aircraft could harm national park resources and experiences for visitors.

Background and Purpose:

The Act, as amended, requires that all commercial air tour operators conducting or intending to conduct a commercial air tour operation over a unit of the National Park system apply to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for authority to undertake such activity. The Act further requires the FAA, in cooperation with the National Park Service (NPS), to establish an ATMP or voluntary agreement for each park that did not have such a plan or agreement in place at the time the applications were made, unless a park has been otherwise exempted from this requirement.

The Act applies to areas within and 1/2 mile outside of a park, and to elevations below 5,000 feet above ground level (AGL). The Act requires that an ATMP include incentives for the adoption of quiet aircraft technology and provide for the allocation of opportunities to conduct air tours when the ATMP limits the number of operations. An ATMP may prohibit commercial air tour operations (in whole or in part), and can establish conditions for the conduct of air tour operations (including routes, altitudes, time-of-day restrictions, restrictions for particular events, maximum numbers of flights, or other provisions).

In establishing an ATMP, the Act requires the agencies to publish the proposed plan for notice and comment and hold at least one public meeting. The public meeting for this ATMP will be held on Tuesday, October 26, 2021 (4:30-6:00 PM PT), and comments on this ATMP will be accepted until November 15, 2021. Air tours at the parks have been ongoing since before the Act was enacted. The Act directed the FAA to grant interim operating authority (IOA) to operators that were already conducting tours at the parks when the Act became effective until an ATMP is developed. An operator's IOA is based on the number of the operator reported it was conducting annually at the time the Act was passed. IOA does not set routes or operating conditions for an operator except to limit the number of air tours the operator is permitted to fly each year. Implementation of an ATMP will replace IOA.

Contact Information

Submit written comments to:
National Park Service
Natural Sounds and Night Skies Division
San Francisco Bay Area ATMP
1201 Oakridge Dr., Suite 100
Fort Collins, CO 80525