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Re: Use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (Drones) Prohibited in Yosemite National Park

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avatar Use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (Drones) Prohibited in Yosemite National Park
May 02, 2014 10:19PM
Yosemite National Park advises visitors that the use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (Drones) are prohibited within park boundaries due to regulations outlined in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). Specifically, the use of drones within the park boundaries is illegal under all circumstances. Thirty Six CFR 2.17(a)(3) states, “delivering or retrieving a person or object by parachute, helicopter, or other airborne means, except in emergencies involving public safety or serious property loss, or pursuant to the terms and conditions of a permit” is illegal. This applies to drones of all shapes and sizes.

The park has experienced an increase in visitors using drones within park boundaries over the last few years. Drones have been witnessed filming climbers ascending climbing routes, filming views above tree-tops, and filming aerial footage of the park. Drones can be extremely noisy, and can impact the natural soundscape. Drones can also impact the wilderness experience for other visitors creating an environment that is not conducive to wilderness travel. The use of drones also interferes with emergency rescue operations and can cause confusion and distraction for rescue personnel and other parties involved in the rescue operation. Additionally, drones can have negative impacts on wildlife nearby the area of use, especially sensitive nesting peregrine falcons on cliff walls.

Visitors traveling to the park should be aware that the use of drones is prohibited while visiting the park and should not be utilized at any time.
However in a emergency situation (like Mt. Rainier where a ranger was killed), the government will use all means necessary including drones (and they did).



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/02/2014 11:49PM by Nick.338.
avatar Re: Use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (Drones) Prohibited in Yosemite National Park
May 06, 2014 10:37PM
Quote
Nick.338
However in a emergency situation (like Mt. Rainier where a ranger was killed), the government will use all means necessary including drones (and they did).

Well - yeah.

The use of motorized transportation is even allowed in designated wilderness areas if it's to provide some sort of emergency support, such as airlifting someone injured out.

NPS personnel shoot off shotguns to haze bears with rubber slugs, but the public isn't allowed to do so. Not allowing the public to use certain items while government employees can is nothing new.
Quote
eeek

Drones can be extremely noisy, and can impact the natural soundscape.

Drones aren't the only thing that can impact the natural soundscape.

If they are truly concerned about the natural soundscape, they should also limit noisy diesel busses and other vehicles that make excessive noise (like some modified motorcycles).

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I would imagine they are still talking about closing the valley floor to vehicles and shuttling everyone in? They talked about that a number of times before.

There's going to be hundreds of geeks violating the rule, of course, because "my little drone won't bother anyone or anything, they're so mean" - and then we'll start seeing webcam shots of clouds of the things around Half Dome. Someone will interfere with a big wall rescue with one and lawsuits will fly.

Search and rescue will be sending up their own drones - likely in shades of orange and red, popular colors for SAR - to look for the many people who get vanished or hurt out there. I won't mind that at all. Huge tax money saver. Time saver, too, and maybe it'll turn into just Rescue from Search and Rescue?



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/06/2014 07:38AM by AlmostThere.
I love the idea of SAR drones. What will be next, though, Ranger drones? Hold up your permit to the drone's camera! Maybe they can be used to deliver pizza... Ok, maybe NOT!
Curry Pizza Deck deliveries to the top of Half Dome or Clouds Rest??? Awesome!
SAR has been talking about that for the past five years, but to my knowledge our local team hasn't raised the funds to get one yet. Yose being federal, the paperwork is likely taking a decade.
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AlmostThere

I would imagine they are still talking about closing the valley floor to vehicles and shuttling everyone in?


Where have you been these past three years? The emphatic answer to this question is: no, they are no longer talking about closing the valley floor to vehicles and shuttling everyone in. The Park Service is planning to keep valley floor open to vehicle traffic indefinitely (with actual road improvements as specified in the new Merced River Plan).


The Park Service's blueprint for the Merced River, including Yosemite Valley itself, for the foreseeable future can be found here:
The Merced Wild and Scenic River Final Comprehensive Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement


Where applicable, its recommendations supersedes those found in the Yosemite General Management Plan.

The Merced River Plan was formerly adopted this past March on March 31, 2014.
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Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 05/06/2014 12:30PM by plawrence.
Clearly, I've been hiking, planning to hike, taking a shower after a hike, and thinking about hiking. thumbs up
avatar Drone Harasses Bighorn Sheep at Zion National Park
May 08, 2014 06:59PM

NPS Photo

Springdale, Utah: Volunteers at Zion National Park recently witnessed a remote controlled drone flying close to a herd of bighorn sheep on the eastern side of the park. They observed the herd scattering at the approach of the drone with several young sheep separated from the adults by the drone. Harassment of wildlife within the park is illegal, as is the use of drones.

“I am sure most people who fly drones have no desire to harm wildlife or endanger our other visitors. Many may not even know that it is illegal to fly a drone here at Zion,” Superintendent Jim Milestone stated. “We hope that by educating the public about the reasons behind the restrictions, we will increase their understanding and compliance and help to protect the park.”

Rangers have seen a large increase in the use of drones within the park. Some visitors have complained about drones interrupting the usual peace of Zion’s soundscape and wilderness, while others have reported feeling unsafe as drones buzz through slot canyons and along exposed trails such as Angels Landing and Canyon Overlook. The recent observation of the bighorn sheep encounter with a drone also demonstrates the negative impact they can have on the wildlife within Zion National Park, particularly in the spring when many animals are caring for their young. In addition to impacting ground-based wildlife, drones may prevent birds from successfully nesting or may cause nests to be abandoned if the birds feel harassed.

A drone is an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). Its flight is controlled either autonomously by onboard computers or by remote control. The penalty for using a drone in Zion can be up to 6 months imprisonment and/or a $5000 fine.

“Drones are a new challenge for Zion National Park and our mission of resource protection,” said Wildlife Biologist Cassie Waters. “Animals can be injured when attempting to escape or avoid drone activity. Drones can also change the natural behavior of wildlife and lead to unnecessary energy expenditures. This has the potential to affect survival and reproductive success in many species. We are therefore really concerned with drones, their effect on wildlife, and our ability to preserve the natural environment.”
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