Yosemite National Park Warns Visitors That Using Drones In The Park Is Illegal

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Yosemite officials are reminding visitors it's illegal to use drones in the park./Kurt Repanshek.

Using drones to capture climbers on El Capitan in Yosemite National Park might produce an interesting video, but it's illegal, park officials are pointing out. The problem, they say, is that drones can be intrusive and noisy, can interfere with rescue operations, and can bother wildlife.

To drive that point home, Yosemite issued a release last week to remind visitors that using drones anywhere in the park is illegal.

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 Yosemite should be aware that the use of drones is prohibited while visiting the park and they should not be utilized at any time, the release said.

Comments

Not exactly "reminding visitors", but rather enacting unilaterally a new regulation, based on an old "air delivery" statute which itself was ad-hoc (to prohibit base-jumping) and is technically irrelevant to the new issue at hand. See: http://www.forbes.com/sites/gregorymcneal/2014/05/03/yosemite-looks-to-ban-drones-but-the-law-is-not-on-their-side/

I'm not a gambler, but it seems a safe bet in the long run that Yosemite managers will not apply this ban to their own activities. I believe the NPS has already used drones for SAR and wildlife monitoring elsewhere. It seems only a matter of time until backcountry permits include a mandatory location transponder monitored from above.