National park air tour fees

In a report issued May 11, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that the National Park Service has not been able to collect all the air tour fees it is due. Of 86 park units, only three meet the criteria established by the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993, P.L. 103-66, to charge air tour fees: Grand Canyon, Haleakala, and Hawaii Volcanoes National Parks.

While the Park Service is responsible for collecting air tour fees, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has sole jurisdiction of airspace over national park units. The FAA, together with the Park Service, is charged with regulating air tours pursuant to the National Parks Overflights Act of 1987, P.L. 100-91, and the National Parks Air Tour Management Act of 2000 (pdf), P.L. 106-181,title VIII, but the FAA is not required to enforce payment of fees.

GAO found that the Park Service is hindered in collecting fees because it cannot verify air tour activity and thus cannot enforce compliance, and because P.L. 103-66 and P.L. 106-181 set different geographic standards for air tours incurring fees.

NATIONAL PARKS AIR TOUR FEES: Effective Verification and Enforcement Are Needed to Improve Compliance, GAO-06-468
     Full report (pdf, 560KB, 42p.)
     Highlights (pdf, 84KB, 1p.)
     Abstract (html)

See related FR post, National park air tours

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