Wyden, Merkley Win Singular Protection for Crater Lake from Air Tour Flyovers

Washington, D.C. – In order to preserve the unique quiet and solitude of Oregon’s sole National Park, Oregon Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley today won greater authority for the National Park Service to ban air tour flyovers in Crater Lake. Their amendment, which was passed in the Senate as part of the Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill, allows the Park Service the ability to deny air tours over the park without first having to prepare an air tour management plan, as is the case with every other National Park. 

“I see this as a first step in keeping our National Parks free of noise pollution that can ruin visitors’ experience of our national treasures,” Wyden said. “From today on, the precious quiet of Crater Lake will be something future generations can count on as much as we do today.”
“Crater Lake is unique not only in the state of Oregon, but in the entire nation, in its natural beauty,” said Merkley. “This is an important provision to preserve this special place.  Future generations should be able to travel there without noise disruptions and enjoy the same experience travelers from all over the world see today.”

Wyden has been working to secure protections for Crater Lake from air tour flyovers since last summer, when he received a commitment from then-nominee for Director of the National Park Service, Jon Jarvis, to protect the “fragile beauty” of Crater Lake. The amendment’s acceptance into the FAA reauthorization bill gives Jarvis the authority to make good on that promise in the near future, without first having to develop a costly and time consuming management plan.
Another benefit of the amendment is that it clearly defines the role that the National Park Service (NPS) plays in protecting National Park resources and values, while also reasserting the authority that the Federal Aviation Administration has over ensuring the safety of America’s airspace.
The amendment modifies an existing law that requires the FAA and NPS to jointly develop air tour management plans before denying requests to operate air tours over national parks.  No such management plan has ever been completed in the decade since that law took effect.