Silence wins in Colorado

  Those who felt that the new rules governing flights over the Grand Canyon were too lenient now have something to cheer: On Jan. 3, the Federal Aviation Adminstration issued a separate rule banning all commercial flights over Colorado's Rocky Mountain National Park.

"This is fabulous news to bring in the New Year," said Colorado Rep. David Skaggs, D. "It's what I've been working for - to guarantee that visitors can enjoy the astounding beauty of the park without being buzzed by low-flying helicopters or sightseeing planes."

Unlike the new Grand Canyon restrictions, this ban met with little opposition since there are presently no commercial sightseeing flights over the park. "Too often we wait until peace and tranquillity are destroyed before realizing that they are landscape values worth protecting," says Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt. "This time we're doing it right."

The ban will remain in place until the FAA develops a rule governing flights over all national parks. And even then, Skaggs is sure the ban will hold: "I'm confident we will be able to retain this protection for the park."

* Elizabeth Manning

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