Public Comments Sought on Park’s Administrative Aviation Plan and Environmental Assessment

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park has released its Mission Critical Administrative Aviation Plan and Environmental Assessment (plan/EA) for managing the use of administrative aviation over the park. The public is invited to comment online or via mail by March 7, 2014.

Air Tour

The park and cooperating agencies use helicopters over the 333,086-acre park to respond to eruption activity, monitor and study Kīlauea and Mauna Loa volcanoes, control invasive species, recover rare species, restore degraded ecosystems, protect cultural resources, and conduct wildland fire, search and rescue, and law enforcement operations.

The plan/EA outlines project alternatives, including a no-action alternative and a preferred alternative. Under the no-action alternative, park staff and cooperating agencies would continue to use aviation as needed. Under the preferred alternative, aviation would be used for the health and safety of visitors, employees, and island residents, and for park resource protection and restoration activities. Under this plan, formal best-management practices (BMPs), area closures, and flight restrictions would be instituted to minimize impacts to park resources, soundscapes, wilderness, visitors, and adjoining landowners.

To review the plan/EA, and provide comments online, go to Select the Mission Critical Administrative Aviation Plan link, and click “Open for Comment” on the left, then open the document name. Download the document, or comment directly on the page. Comments can also be mailed to Superintendent, re: Admin Aviation Mgmt Plan/EA, PO Box 52, Hawaii National Park, HI  96718-0052. Comments are due March 7, 2014.

Commercial air tours over the park are being addressed through a separate planning process to develop an Air Tour Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement (ATMP/EIS). The lead agency for the ATMP/EIS is the Federal Aviation Administration, and the National Park Service is a cooperator.

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