News Release

Air Tour Management Plan for Mount Rainier National Park finalized

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Date: July 20, 2022
Contact: Mount Rainier Press Information Line, 360-569-6510

MOUNT RAINIER NATIONAL PARK, WASHINGTON – The National Park Service (NPS) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) completed the air tour management plan for Mount Rainier National Park on July 18, 2022. The plan establishes measures to protect park resources including the Mount Rainier Wilderness, habitat for native species of wildlife, including the northern spotted owl and marbled murrelet, and visitor experiences.  

“The purpose of the air tour plan is to ensure that park resources and values in Mount Rainier National Park, including natural sounds, wilderness character, visitor experiences, wildlife, and other natural and cultural resources, are protected in national parks where air tours occur,” said Greg Dudgeon, the park’s superintendent. The air tour management plan for Mount Rainier National Park establishes how and where an air tour may occur while protecting the qualities that make Mount Rainier National Park a special place.

Commercial air tours have occurred over Mount Rainier National Park for many years without defined operating parameters. The air tour management plan protects national park resources and values by providing continued education and management oversight. 

The plan authorizes up to one air tour per year on a defined route conducted over the park and up to ½-mile outside the park’s boundary. There was on average one air tour per year reported at Mount Rainier National Park from 2017 – 2019.

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

Mount Rainier National Park is among 24 parks in the National Park System for which the agencies 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 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 the NPS’s obligation to protect the park's natural and cultural resources, wildlife, and visitor experiences.

An important part of the process is the inclusion of American Indian Tribes. The agencies consulted with Tribes that have tribal lands within or adjacent to Mount Rainier National Park, and with Tribes that attach historic and cultural significance to resources within the park. These include the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation, Confederated Tribes of the Chehalis Reservation, Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation of Oregon, Cowlitz Indian Tribe, Muckleshoot Indian Tribe, Nisqually Indian Tribe, Puyallup Tribe of Indians, Squaxin Island Tribe, Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation of Oregon, and the Suquamish Indian Tribe.

The final air tour management plan is available at the NPS Park Planning site. All documents associated with the Mount Rainier National Park Air Tour Management Plan, including the final ATMP are available by clicking the “Document List” link. Please visit this NPS site and this FAA site for more detailed information about air tour management plans.

Last updated: July 20, 2022

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