Join or make a donation to the Sierra Club Take Action
Home Page   About Us   Conservation   Political Action   Outings   Meetings and Events   Volunteer  

Conservation Issues

Helicopter tours and aircraft over the Grand Canyon wilderness?!

Papago PointImagine that you have hiked for days through the backcountry wilderness or rafted more than a hundred miles down the Colorado River. As you stop to rest and enjoy the view, instead of the sound of the breeze and birdsong, you hear helicopters thunder overhead.

The Grand Canyon Backcountry is true wilderness. The Canyon is one of the few places protected from the din of modern society, where you can enjoy quiet in a natural setting. Unfortunately, air tour noise destroys the tranquility of this wilderness.

If you are thinking of booking a tour, for the benefit of hikers, rafters, and wildlife down below, please reconsider. You can still see the Canyon in all its majesty without disturbing other Canyon visitors and residents. Both the north and south rims offer amazing scenic vistas and significant access to those of all abilities. 

Our National Parks were established to protect our natural resources for generations to come, not to sell them to the highest bidder. Rather, the mission of the National Park Service is, " conserve the scenery, the natural and historic objects, and the wildlife in United States' national parks…for the enjoyment of future generations.”

The natural quiet of Grand Canyon is wonderful. This film shows its importance and how air tour rides destroy the tranquility.

The National Park Service is proposing to restore natural quiet to Grand Canyon National Park, and invited public input during the spring of 2011. We are now waiting for a final decision on the future of Grand Canyon's soundscape. Thank you to everyone who submitted comments on the new plan!

heliFor more discussion, please read The Power of Place and the Importance of Natural Quiet at Grand Canyon National Park, from the Grand Canyon River Guides journal Boatman’s Quarterly Review. An excerpt:

"The Grand Canyon is one of the quietest national parks, but this natural quiet is being compromised. Although air tour riders may not be aware of it, they compromise the power of the Grand Canyon. They not only do it to themselves, they do it to visitors who come to the Canyon specifically for contemplative recreation."



The Sierra Club - Grand Canyon Chapter requested a review of the presentation, “Study for Grand Canyon Working Group,” Impact on Restricting Flights from the Grand Canyon Airspace, The MITRE Corporation Center for Advanced Aviation System Development (MITRE CAASD), September 27, 2006.


National Sierra Club
"Goals" Page

Sierra Club, Grand Canyon Chapter, 202 E. McDowell Rd, Suite 277, Phoenix, AZ 85004, (602) 253-8633

Sierra Club

Sierra Club® and One Earth, One Chance® are registered trademarks of the Sierra Club.
© 2001 Sierra Club. Sierra Club Website Terms and Conditions of Use and Privacy Policy.