March 14, 2011
By Dan Namowitz
The National Park Service has set three public information meetings on its draft environmental impact statement for addressing aircraft noise above the Grand Canyon National Park.
AOPA will be present at the April meetings to be held in Phoenix and Flagstaff, Ariz., and Henderson, Nev., and will submit formal comments on the draft plan titled “Special Flight Rules Area in the Vicinity of Grand Canyon National Park.” Members are encouraged to study the draft and submit comments by June 20.
AOPA reported Feb. 9 that the National Park Service, citing the need for “more thoughtful management” of aircraft noise above the park, has proposed four alternative plans—including a preferred alternative—for regulating helicopter and airplane tours that carry more than 400,000 visitors annually. The National Park Service’s preferred alternative emerged from years of cooperative efforts by the Grand Canyon Working Group, in which AOPA participated. The preferred alternative maintains the existing four general aviation corridors for transiting the park; however, it proposes raising the ceiling of flight-free zones above the park to 17,999 feet msl.
The public meetings will be held:
The Draft EIS can be reviewed online. Click on the project name, and then scroll to "Open for Public Comments."
Written comments can also be submitted at that website, or mailed to Superintendent, Grand Canyon National Park, Attention Office of Planning and Compliance, P.O. Box 129, Grand Canyon, Arizona 86023 through June 20.
Dan Namowitz is an aviation writer and flight instructor. He has been a pilot since 1985 and an instructor since 1990.
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