National Parks Are Definitively Banning Drones

Future Tense
The Citizen's Guide to the Future
June 20 2014 6:49 PM

National Parks Are Definitively Banning Drones

No nature for you, drone.

Photo by Philipp Guelland/Getty Images

Officials at Yosemite have already been very clear that drones aren't allowed in the park. Now the National Park Service wants to reinforce rules prohibiting drones on the 84 million acres of public land it oversees and establish a sweeping ban.

The director of the Park Service, Jonathan Jarvis, told the Associated Press on Friday that he was planning to sign a directive for park superintendents telling them to create drone bans in their parks. Jarvis says that drones disturb visitors and wildlife and can also pose safety problems, which may be true outside the parks as well.

Following Yosemite's example, Grand Canyon in Arizona and Zion in Utah have both already revised their rules to prohibit drones. And the AP reports that rangers at Mount Rushmore confiscated a drone last September after it flew over visitors and presidents alike.


The bans will apply only to low altitudes inside the parks, not the commercial and high altitude airspace far above. At least you'll be able to rock climb or skinny dip in peace now.

Future Tense is a partnership of SlateNew America, and Arizona State University.

Lily Hay Newman is lead blogger for Future Tense.


Justice Ginsburg’s Crucial Dissent in the Texas Voter ID Case

The Jarring Experience of Watching White Americans Speak Frankly About Race

How Facebook’s New Feature Could Come in Handy During a Disaster

The Most Ingenious Teaching Device Ever Invented

Sprawl, Decadence, and Environmental Ruin in Nevada

View From Chicago

You Should Be Able to Sell Your Kidney

Or at least trade it for something.

Space: The Next Generation

An All-Female Mission to Mars

As a NASA guinea pig, I verified that women would be cheaper to launch than men.

Terrorism, Immigration, and Ebola Are Combining Into a Supercluster of Anxiety

The Legal Loophole That Allows Microsoft to Seize Assets and Shut Down Companies

  News & Politics
Oct. 17 2014 4:21 PM Why the Poor Pay $1,400 for Old iPads #MuckReads: A weekly roundup of investigative reporting from ProPublica.
Business Insider
Oct. 19 2014 11:40 AM Pot-Infused Halloween Candy Is a Worry in Colorado
Oct. 17 2014 5:26 PM Judge Begrudgingly Strikes Down Wyoming’s Gay Marriage Ban
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 17 2014 1:54 PM Republican Midterm Debate Strategy: Be Pro-Life, But Not Anti-Abortion
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 20 2014 7:15 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 9 A spoiler-filled discussion of "Flatline."
Brow Beat
Oct. 20 2014 8:32 AM Marvel’s Civil War Is a Far-Right Paranoid Fantasy—and a Mess. Can the Movies Fix It?
Future Tense
Oct. 17 2014 6:05 PM There Is No Better Use For Drones Than Star Wars Reenactments
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Oct. 20 2014 7:00 AM Gallery: The Red Planet and the Comet
Sports Nut
Oct. 16 2014 2:03 PM Oh What a Relief It Is How the rise of the bullpen has changed baseball.