Court Issues New Ban On Mount Rushmore

Photo by Jéan Béller on Unsplash

( – A federal circuit court has rejected the motion from aircraft companies that have been pushing against the ban on helicopter tours of South Dakota’s Badlands National Park, and Mount Rushmore National Memorial. 

Last month the ban on commercial helicopter tours went into effect as a result of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and National Park Service’s new air tour management plan which was completed in November. According to the plan, there is a ban on aerial tours that would be within half a mile of the boundaries of the park. This is part of an attempt to preserve the cultural and natural resources, wilderness, and sacred tribal sites of the locations. 

In January, Black Hills Aerial Adventures, Rushmore Helicopters, and Badger Helicopters filed a motion with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit to have the plan repealed. 

Two advocacy groups who petitioned for “intervenor status” have been granted it, these are the Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks and the Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). 

PEER senior counsel Peter Jenkins had argued in a statement that they would hopefully be in the last stages to restore control over the national parks’ sky and air space. 

The Badlands National Park air tour management plans are one of the latest successes of the environmental groups’ efforts to enforce a 2000 law. 

The law in question, the National Parks Air Tour Management Act called for plans to be put in place to stop commercial aerial tours from harming the visitor experiences at the park and disturbing wildlife, however, in 22 years there had been no action related to it.

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