Drones banned in southeast Utah national parks
Aug 28, 2014 | 546 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Launching, landing, or operating unmanned aircraft — also known as drones — is now prohibited within all national parks and monuments in southeastern Utah, National Park Service officials said in a news release last week.

The announcement affects the use of drones in Arches and Canyonlands national parks and Hovenweep and Natural Bridges national monuments in southeastern Utah.

In June, the National Park Service placed a temporary ban on drones in all national parks after a series of incidents in parks across the U.S. raised concerns that the unmanned aircraft posed a danger to park features as well as visitors.

In May, drones were banned in Yosemite National Park because visitors had been using them to film climbers and capture other aerial footage. And volunteers in Zion National Park reported earlier this year that a drone was flown near a herd of bighorn sheep, causing the sheep to scatter and separating some young sheep from the adults. In August, a tourist crashed a drone into a famous hot spring in Yellowstone National Park. The drone has yet to be recovered and park service employees are still working to determine whether it caused damage to the site.

The ban includes all types of unmanned aircraft including model airplanes, quadcopters, and drones, according to the news release.

“Use of unmanned aircraft systems ... in parks brings noise and visual intrusions where visitors expect quiet and natural vistas,” park officials said in the news release. “Their use creates a safety concern for visitors, disturbs wildlife, and otherwise conflicts with the mission of national parks to preserve and protect natural and cultural resources and their associated values.”

Kate Cannon, superintendent of the Southeast Utah Group of the National Park Service, said it is necessary to prohibit the use of drones “in order to protect public safety, minimize visitor-use conflicts, and prevent unacceptable impacts to scenic values, natural soundscapes, and wildlife.”

More information regarding this ban may be obtained at the individual park websites under the links “Management/Laws and Policies/Superintendent’s Compendium.”

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