Action Alert: No Commercial Air Tours Over Bandelier
The National Park Service (NPS) and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) have prepared a draft Air Tour Management Plan (ATMP) to define “acceptable” levels of commercial air tours over Bandelier National Monument. Under the draft ATMP, 101 annual commercial air tours would be authorized. You can read more about the proposal and the process here.
On September 15, the NPS held an informational meeting about this process. There was no official representation from tribal members at this meeting. You can view the recording here.
CALL TO ACTION
Commercial air tours have already been happening over Bandelier since 2003 (up to 126 flights a year at 800 – 1000 ft above the ground, run by Southwest Safaris), so the ATMP draft is not a proposal to ‘allow’ these flights to happen but rather to regulate frequency, duration, altitude, and routes. Therefore, we are not asking you to oppose the ATMP as it’s a step in the right direction to address the situation.
- We are calling for this specific inclusion in the plan: restricting any commercial/for-profit flights over this area, as this is ancestral Tewa land. (We recognize that there may be times when search-and-rescue and emergency flights may be necessary.) The airway frequency of these planes has a dire impact on elk, deer, turkey, and other beings who live on this land. From an environmental standpoint, these unnecessary flights are just that — unnecessary — and contribute to environmental violence. These “pleasure” tours are a violation of rights to clean air and sacred space, which extends above and below. We Tewa have never left.
- We are calling for tribal voices to be centered in every part of this process, and for the NPS to recognize that Bandelier is not only an historical site but a current site of great cultural importance to Indigenous people.
We ask you to stand with us and advocate against commercial air tours over Bandelier, and help us to amplify the above points.
From now until October 13 (extended deadline), the NPS is accepting comments from the public.
You can view the full draft and submit your comments through the NPS website here: https://parkplanning.nps.gov/document.cfm?parkID=27&projectID=103440&documentID=114715
Please note the NPS is not accepting comments via email.
Alternately, you may send written comments here:
National Park Service
Natural Sounds and Night Skies Division
1201 Oakridge Dr., Suite 100
Fort Collins, CO 80525