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Press Release

As Administration Limits Air Tours Over National Parks Without Community Input, Members Voice Concerns

WASHINGTON, D.C., December 5, 2023 | Committee Press Office (202-225-2761)

Today, the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations held an oversight hearing on the Biden administration’s recent move to ban air tours over popular national parks. Subcommittee Chairman Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) issued the following statement in response:

“Air tours are an important option to many visitors hoping to enjoy a once in a lifetime experience at our national parks and famous landmarks. National parks should be available to all visitors, including the disabled and elderly who rely on aerial flights as the only way to enjoy our national parks. Greatly reducing opportunities to experience these treasures makes no sense.”


Air tours over National Parks are an important industry for many states and provide an alternative for visitors to enjoy some of the country's most iconic landscapes, including those who have limited mobility or may otherwise not be able to access all areas of a national park unit. Air tours require no infrastructure on the ground and can help alleviate overcrowding and wait times, which have become problematic for many popular national parks.

Unfortunately, the National Park Service (NPS) has utilized the National Parks Air Tour Management Program (ATMP) to esentially eliminate air tour flights over certain National Park units without consulting gateway communities and the National Parks Overflights Advisory Group.

NPS is currently developing numerous ATMPs across the National Park System, including for Canyon de Chelly National Monument in Arizona, which could effectively prohibit all air tours in the units under consideration. 

Eliminating air tours has a much larger effect, including limiting access to the national park system for the elderly, those with physical limitations, and individuals with limited time and resources to travel. It also eliminates emergency services that air tour companies, provide for surrounding communities, and displaces a pilot workforce that regularly transitions to fields experiencing pilot shortages such as emergency services, law enforcement and firefighting. The decision by the NPS is the latest action by the Biden administration that disproportionally impacts small businesses and rural communities.

Today's hearing was an opportunity for members to hear from community stakeholders about how these abuses of the ATMP will harm their livelihoods and question the NPS on its process for making these hasty decisions. 

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