Steve was the chief biologist at Glacier National Park. He contacted PEER because his superintendent was pushing a permit for a parking lot that would have destroyed old growth forest, and Steve felt the permit was illegal.
Steve wanted to go public with his overruled objections but conceded that doing so would end his career with NPS. We worked out a way to arm conservation groups with the substance of his objections and they were able to block the permit.
Steve finished his career at Glacier and retired last year.
As he retired, he called PEER again to alert us to the incessant tourist overflights full of loud helicopters hovering over Glacier (approximately 800 per season). Glacier’s General Management Plan forbade these overflights but NPS and the park had no way to enforce that ban. After some research and outreach, we developed and filed a federal lawsuit against the FAA for its failure to implement the National Park Air Tour Management Act of 2000 – a law that was supposed to protect park soundscapes and visitor experience from excessive overflights. That suit, which is now being argued, seeks relief for seven parks, including Glacier, experiencing more than half of the air tours taking flight every year—more than 30,000 in 2016.