Drones Banned In National Parks

June 20, 2014

The federal government says drones will not be allowed in national parks. The National Park Service says the unmanned aircraft have been temporarily banned until an impact study is completed.

The launching, landing and operation of unmanned aircraft is being prohibited at national parks and waterways. The National Park Service says visitors have complained about drone noises and disturbances. It also says park supervisors have reported seeing drones disturbing animal herds and crashing in canyons.

Jeffrey Olson is with the National Park Service. He says the agency wants to conduct an in-depth study.  

“That’s going to lead to the rule-making process in which we will probably propose a rule, nationwide, that covers flying unmanned aircraft in national parks. Part of this rule making process is also going to be taking public input. It’s a process that can take up to 18 months,” Olson said.

Olson says the final rules could only impact some national parks. The ban does not impact the National Park Service’s use of unmanned aircraft for administrative purposes, including emergencies.