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National parks will soon ban most drone flights

Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
June 20, 2014
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While we've already seen a few US national parks clamp down on drones in their airspace, it now looks like that no-fly rule is about to extend across the country. The National Park Service tells the Associated Press that it's about to order all 401 of its parks to ban unfettered use of drones on their grounds. Each park will have exceptions for high-altitude flyers, hobbyist clubs, researchers and rescuers, but you won't get to lug your personal camera drone around purely for the sake of remote sightseeing. If all goes according to plan, the Service will also have a preliminary national rule drafted within 18 months.

Service director Jonathan Jarvis argues that it's important to draw this line in the sand before things get out of control. Besides concerns about spooking wildlife, there are worries about the safety of rock climbers and others on dangerous expeditions. The last thing you need on a challenging ascent is an unmanned craft in your face, after all. As much as we like drones, it's hard to object to rules that let park guests focus on nature's majesty instead of vehicles buzzing overhead.

[Background image credit: Eric Leslie, Flickr]

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