National parks study air tour flight regulations

HONOLULU (AP) - The National Park Service and the Federal Aviation Administration are seeking public comment on possible regulations for commercial tour flights over Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

The park service said Tuesday the agencies are considering defining flight paths and restricting when helicopters and airplanes can fly over the park. Federal law enacted in 2000 requires national parks to have air tour management plans.

Park service officials say it is necessary to preserve the quiet wilderness of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, along with maintaining safety for visitors. The Grand Canyon is the only other national park with more flights.

Three public meetings will be held this month on the Big Island.

The Maui News reported Tuesday that an air tour management plan is also being developed for Haleakala National Park.

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.