Drones and the Outdoors

"Dawn Drone Flight" by Bit BoyThe National Park Service has issued a new rule for all of the National Parks across the country. Visitors will no longer be able to use drones inside the parks to capture footage and get access to views otherwise inaccessible. This includes using drones to film climbers too. All unmanned aircraft are banned from all the parks, said spokesman John Quincy to CNN. It’s not really a surprise when you think about the risks of using drones in public parks to the relaxing mood, wildlife, and even rescue efforts.

Drones have been specifically banned by several parks in the past, but often the park officials hadn’t yet determined whether drones were already covered by any of their park rules.

Drones are increasingly perceived as a problem, especially after a near-miss accident in Tallahassee with a commercial airliner. While flying drones in National Parks might seem pretty harmless, the truth is that drones can really take a toll on the wildlife the parks were established to protect. Stories about drones buzzing groups of bighorn sheep in Zion and a paparazzi assault on the first known condor chick in the park are no longer rare.

With companies like Domino’s and Amazon looking into drone technology for commercial purposes, drones are clearly becoming more widespread. As with so many other new things, the first adopters don’t cause problems; it’s not until they reach a certain critical mass that rules have to be made.

Drone users are not happy, of course. They say that the rash actions of a few people shouldn’t spoil the fun for everyone.

Consider it a friendly reminder that when we’re out in the woods we should be sure to not disturb others, leave wildlife alone, and always pack out. When we act responsibly in the wilderness, it makes it more enjoyable for everyone and keeps access open. When officials are forced to close areas to protect wildlife from humans, we all lose out.

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