Air Tour Management Plan - Mount Rushmore National Memorial

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The National Park Service (NPS) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) (collectively, "the agencies") are seeking public, tribal, and stakeholder input on the Mount Rushmore National Memorial (the Park) Draft Air Tour Management Plan (ATMP) and Draft Environmental Assessment (EA). Release of this Draft ATMP and Draft EA is part of the agencies compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the National Parks Air Tour Management Act of 2000 (the Act) (Title 14, CFR, Part 136, Commercial Air Tours and National Parks Air Tour Management) process and begins a 30-day public review period.

Commercial air tours have the potential to impact Park resources and visitor experience. The Act requires the agencies to develop an ATMP or Voluntary Agreement for parks where operators have applied to conduct commercial air tours. The term commercial air tour operation is defined as any flight conducted for compensation or hire in a powered aircraft, where a purpose of the flight is sightseeing over the Park or within ½-mile outside the Park's boundary during which the aircraft flies below 5,000 feet (ft.) above ground level (AGL).

The objective of the ATMP, under the Act, is to develop acceptable and effective measures to mitigate or prevent significant adverse impacts, if any, of commercial air tour operations on the Park's natural and cultural resources, tribal sacred sites and ceremonial areas, and visitor experience, as well Wilderness character on designated Wilderness lands inside the ATMP planning area. An ATMP may describe conditions for conducting air tour operations over the Park, including maximum annual air tours, designated route(s) and altitude(s), aircraft type, time-of-day and day-of-week restrictions, season of operation, restrictions for particular events, required reporting, quiet technology incentives, and other provisions, as well as prohibiting air tours within the ATMP planning area.

The agencies are taking public comment on the Draft ATMP and EA from May 16, 2023 to June 20, 2023.

The agencies hosted a virtual public meeting on June 1, 2023 from 6:00 - 7:30 PM MDT. The recording can be watched by clicking on this link:

The public is encouraged to submit official comments on the Draft ATMP and Draft EA through this NPS PEPC website. You can access the Draft ATMP and Draft EA by clicking "Open for Comment" on the left side of this page and then clicking on the link to the Draft ATMP and EA under "Select a document to review and comment". Select the "Comment Now" button to enter your official comments on the Draft EA. Comments will not be accepted by email. Before including your address, phone number, e-mail address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, be advised that your entire comment (including your personal identifying information) may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold from public review your personal identifying information, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.

Written comments may be sent via postal mail to the following address:

Volpe National Transportation Systems Center
Kaitlyn Rimol, V-326
Attn: Mount Rushmore National Memorial ATMP
55 Broadway
Cambridge, MA 02142

Comments on the Draft ATMP and Draft EA must be received no later than June 20, 2023 at 11:59 PM MDT.

Please comment on any alternative and/or alternative element described in the Draft ATMP or Draft EA. The agencies are seeking substantive comments that describe why something will or will not work, provide new ideas or factual information to correct or adjust assumptions made, or present reasonable alternatives other than those described. Comments that merely support or oppose the proposals are not considered substantive. Commenters may wish to consider the following questions:

• What elements of the alternatives do you think are most important? Why?

• What other information should the planning team consider when analyzing the alternatives?

• Are there other elements or ideas that should be considered and analyzed that are not already presented? What is missing, and why should it be considered?

• Are there other resources or impact topics that should be considered in the analysis?

• What other comments and suggestions do you have?

A list of frequently asked questions are available by clicking the "Document List" on the left side of this page.

Following the public comment period, we will analyze public comments, revise the Draft ATMP and Draft EA as necessary and, if appropriate, prepare a Final ATMP and Final EA along with a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) and Record of Decision (ROD) to finalize the process.

Thank you for your interest in this project!

Please Note: Public comments on the draft alternatives will not be accepted via email.
Please select "Open for Comment" on the left side of this page to provide your comment.

Contact Information

Rylan Sprague
Integrated Resource Manager
(605) 574-3168