Quiet Zone: Air Traffic Routed Away From Colorado's Backcountry
For years, the peaceful sounds of birds, rivers and wind in Rocky Mountain National Park have mixed with the grating drone of airplanes approaching Denver International Airport.
However, new rules from the Federal Aviation Administration may help reduce noise pollution from the 600 daily flights over the area.
Flights approaching the airport from the west must now fly directly over Trail Ridge Road—the park’s heavily traveled highway—and are not allowed to rev their engines to help with descent. In this way, officials hope to limit auto and aircraft engine noise to one area.
The new strategy won’t just be good for park visitors, but also for the airline industry and travelers.
“These procedures allow aircraft to fly a precise, optimized horizontal and vertical trajectory, which helps to lower fuel burn with more precise approaches, reduce diversion due to bad weather conditions and improve airport access in challenging terrain,” Frontier Airlines spokeswoman Kate O’Malley told The Coloradan.
Throughout the summer, the National Park Service’s natural sounds team will track aircraft noise throughout the protected area. In this way, they’ll better understand the extent to which the new regulations help reduce noise pollution.