Drones: Yosemite Reminds Public UAS Are Banned in National Park

Image: Drones: Yosemite Reminds Public UAS Are Banned in National Park In this January 2014 file photo, an aerial drone with a high quality video camera records the landscape.

Monday, 05 May 2014 07:51 PM

By Morgan Chilson

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Drones are not welcome in Yosemite National Park, and the National Park Service reminded visitors Friday that the mechanical flying objects interfere with visitors who are there to appreciate the wilderness.

Specifying that the regulation that makes using drones within the park boundaries illegal refers to “drones of all shapes and sizes,” the NPS said in a release that Yosemite has seen an increase in the number of visitors bringing drones in the park over the last few years.

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“Drones have been witnessed filming climbers ascending climbing routes, filming views above treetops, and filming aerial footage of the park,” the release said. “Drones can be extremely noisy, and can impact the natural soundscape.”

The park release also said that the flying objects can interfere with wildlife, especially sensitive nesting peregrine falcons on cliff walls.

It seems that many people didn’t know the drones were banned from the park; judging by the headlines after the news release, many presented the ban as a new thing. From the number of drone videos on YouTube, people were either ignorant of or ignoring the rule.

“Most if not all of the people using these are simply unaware that they’re illegal,” park ranger Scott Gediman told The Associated Press.

Problems with drone use are beginning to be addressed by regulations in numerous communities across the country. Not the least of regulatory agencies issuing rules about drones is the Federal Aviation Administration, which sharply administers commercial unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), as drones are called.

But despite the fact that the FAA requires that anyone flying a commercial UAS be licensed through its agency, drones are still making what AdWeek calls “illicit liftoffs” for businesses.

A Philadelphia entrepreneur, who told AdWeek he wasn’t licensed with the FAA, has advertised a business involving drones flying advertising banners around. Another business that planned to offer drone beer delivery was one of the first to find out about the FAA’s involvement with licensing when they found out they couldn’t do that, AdWeek said.

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