National Parks Are Definitively Banning Drones

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

National Parks Are Definitively Banning Drones

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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.

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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.