3D Robotics

Drones now banned in all US National Parks


From Gizmodo:

The National Parks Service just announced a sweeping ban on drones. The new policy prohibits "launching, landing, or operating unmanned aircraft on lands and waters administered by the National Park Service." Why? Because they're disruptive, that's why.

Drones are already banned in a few national parks, including Yosemite, for the simple fact that they're a noisy nuisance. These flying robots bother park-goers. They bother park rangers. And perhaps most importantly, they bother the wildlife. The Parks Service release even lists infractions:

In April, visitors at Grand Canyon National Park gathered for a quiet sunset, which was interrupted by a loud unmanned aircraft flying back and forth and eventually crashing in the canyon. Later in the month, volunteers at Zion National Park witnessed an unmanned aircraft disturb a herd of bighorn sheep, reportedly separating adults from young animals.

Disturbing the sheep!

Not all hope is lost for hobbyists who want a beautiful backdrop for their aerial drone-o-graphs, though. The Parks Service itself will also continue using drones "for administrative purposes such as search and rescue, fire operations and scientific study." The new policy is described as a "temporary measure" pending a more permanent regulation which "can take considerable time" to get approved.

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  • I wasn't aware that the National Park Service had any authority to regulate airspace. Although I agree with limiting the activity or requiring a permit etc, I wish them good luck in banning the activity altogether.

  • Also, consider that quadcopters in particular are morphing into something more than just a model airplane.

    With their stability and the control proveded by our autopilots, they are in fact becoming the ultimate photographic accessory.

    And they have huge potential in amateur photography to let us see wonderful perspectives we never have been able to see before.

    It would be a terrible shame to see, just as this capability is about to be realized the introduction of Draconian laws that essentially make exploiting it impossible.

  • Realistically with the explosion of quadcopters currently taking place there are bound to be a lot of mishaps.

    But I think the media will quickly tire of blowing them up out of proportion, because the majority of mishaps are going to be minor and reporting on them is going to be perceived as a waste of time.

    However, the whole issue is currently in an unrealistic and hysterical state of public, governmental and institutional apprehension.

    Eventually we can hope sane and reasonable regulations will result that actually work to the benefit of the whole public, us included.

    In the short term, however that is an unrealistic expectancy, we are both ogre and scapegoat and realistic rules are unlikely.

    It is interesting to hear both why can't we do whatever we want in our parks and stay out of the parks and fly only at your designated AMA fields on the responses to this blog.

    First, UAV - Model airplane users are not now nor have they ever been primarily a property of the AMA although perhaps they would like you to think otherwise.

    Second that portion of the american public that does use these things has a right to use them safely and responsibly.

    Just like smoking they also need to be regulated adequately to ensure they do not represent a health hazard to others and also not an unacceptable nuisance.

    With that in mind, there are certainly broad areas in our parks that could have an expectation of reasonable access and there are certainly areas that should not.

    It would be a really good idea if we could find a way to make our case directly to the involved authorities rather than having them make it up with no sound information whatsoever - as it is now.

  • The government no longer represents the people, they only care about power and control. Politicians are like whores, they only answer to money.
  • We should all choose a park, have everyone show up with their Quads, make a big deal of it so many people show up. Then fly all around the park.
  • regulation is inevitable....  that doesnt mean anything related to whether or not it is or isnt a 'good' or valid reason....nor does it mean it represents a majority or whether that majority is informed, well or 'mal'...the folks in control will use everything to accomplish their goals/agenda... what we want will not matter unless we can get access to media and well versed spokespeople...because it really is a matter of perception and appearance...

    this will be true of everything, everytime, everywhere...   we have allowed ourselves to be ruled, and fairness has little to nothing with that situation....so, until the time comes, I will enjoy and even push the limits/boundaries, as long as I enjoy it... becuase that is really my only option...

    too bad...

  • Moderator

    That's another good idea. Along with a list of 'no-fly' zone - not near wildlife, over crowds, during rescue operations, charge a small fee. That sounds like a win-win for everybody.

  • Another knee-jerk reaction from the feds.  What a shame the government has once again taken the path of least resistance and allowed a few [grossly] irresponsible people to ruin something for everyone. Yes, drones can be annoying and even dangerous, but in the right hands they can be safe unobtrusive. My hope is that the feds see reason and setup a system of permits and designated flying areas. I would rather pay a fee and be subject to reasonable rules than be locked out entirely. 

  • BTW last year I was flying my plane in a remote place I have been for years while on vacation in Canada. I kid you not this lady drove 1/2 mile over to the little road I was flying from and actually complained and said I was bothering her sheep!! I had my mobius on the plane and when I got home I watched and of course the sheep just continued to graze never so much as looked up. This lady had wind miles... solar panels... and of course a major bent over anything that burns gas such as my plane. I noticed however she drove over to complain I didn't see her come over on her solar bike or anything. :] 

  • @ bluesky1

    VERY good point! After reading the actual verbiage of the restriction that makes much more sense. They aren't banning them they only do in certain areas and for good reason. My apologies to the park rangers.

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