Lester C. Powers
Programs and Promotions in Recreation Park-Rec 335
Professor Rodney Rodgers
15 October 2018
I remember back in the day when the only thing you would see in the sky were birds, planes, and an occasional kite. The times when you and your brother or sister or maybe even your parents, would go out to the park or an open field on a windy day and fly your kite. It was fun, as long as the wind kept blowing. Remember, you would compete to see whose kite would fly the highest, the string would be burning your hand, and the biggest challenge was to get it back down safely. Back then you didn’t have to worry about cameras being attached to a kite or worry about anyone recording or spying on you in your back yard. This paper will show how drones are becoming nuisance and are being banned in all National Parks.
I can remember back when remote control cars were the high light of Christmas. We would all be out side trying to make them do tricks and everything. We would race them just to see who was the fastest. We had toys like the batman hover hero, the superman hover hero, the iron eagle helicopter, and some years later came the RC drone SJR. Drones were beginning to come to life and attracting people of all ages.
Drones are growing more and more popular. They are becoming increasingly wide spread throughout the world. Some even being used by the US government. Drones are being used for successful search and recue missions, surveillance of illegal activity, tracking the spread of invasive species, and a lot of other interesting things. The public flying of recreational drones is vexing those agencies who resist making an accommodation with this fast-growing form of public recreation. Drones will only continue to become more popular with the public who are looking for places to fly them and government agencies who are looking to utilize their unique capabilities.
Unmanned Aircraft Systems, also known as the UAS or Drones are becoming increasingly popular recreationally and commercially. There is a prediction, the prediction is several public parks and recreation agencies will create a drone corp. They will utilize staff- operated and volunteer flown drones to monitor natural resources, map the spread of invasive species or bugs, count visitors, provide security monitoring for remote areas. The one thing that scares people the most is the ones that will be used for private use. You know, the ones that will be used to spy in your neighbor back yard or used to peep through someone windows. Although the prediction may sound good, the NPS (National Park Service) says something different.
CNN travel says, “more and more parks are becoming no fly zones”. The growth of unmanned aircrafts has increased dramatically in recent years. A drone is described as a device that is used or intended to be used for flight without direct the possibility of a human directing the aircraft. That means if a human cannot control the aircraft from within or on the device it is considered to be a drone. The term unmanned aircraft also includes all types of devices like model airplanes, quadcopters and drones that are used for the purpose of recreation and or commercial.
There have been several National Parks that have complained about the use of drones in and around the Parks. A climber in Utah had an unlikely experience with a drone. While climbing the Cottontail Tower at Fisher Towers near Moab, a drone flew within a few feet of him. Not only did the drone distract him but it also made him angry. Once the climber came down the Tower he and the drone’s owner exchanged a few words. That incident alone could have caused major problems for the climber. The distraction by the drone could have caused him to make a mistake and fall to his death or hurt someone else.
Yosemite National Park shared some of the same issues. Drones had been seen filming climbers ascending routes, and filming views above the tree, and also filming area footage of the entire park. Drones have been reported as being extremely noisy and can impact the natural soundscape of the entire park. Visitors wilderness experience could be ruined by drones, creating an environment that is not conductive to wilderness travel. There were even reports that drones were interfering with rescue operations, distracting rescue personnel and again you are hearing negative feedback. Things like the harassment on our wildlife, drones flying around the nesting peregrine falcons. It seems that the problem was more wide spread than anyone imagined.
Visitors at the Grand Canyon National Park had their park experience interrupted by an unmanned aircraft flying back and forth over their heads and eventually crashing somewhere in the canyon. Zion National Park had issues during that same time frame. There was an unmanned aircraft disturbing a herd of bighorn sheep causing the separation of adults from the young animals. There were reports of an unmanned aircraft flying above visitors at the Mount Rushmore Memorial Amphitheater. Rangers later confiscated the unmanned aircraft and gave the owner a warning. Drone owners are aware they should keep their unmanned aircraft away airports, but they are even more flabbergasted to find out they can’t fly them in National Parks either.
Drones not only affect our wilderness experience, but they affect us on the personal level as well. Drones are seen going through neighborhoods taking pictures or even filming video of near by neighbors. Drone operators are aware this is illegal, but they do it anyway without the consent of the individual they are filming.
The NPS (National Park Service), embraces all types of activities that go on in its parks. They do their best to enhance the visitor experience with the iconic natural, natural historic and cultural landscapes. Due to growing serious concerns and a lot of negative feedback when it came to the unmanned aircrafts. The NPS restricted all unmanned aircrafts in all but a few parks. The problem was that the NPS had serious safety concerns for visitors, their staff, and wildlife. Anyone who wanted to fly an unmanned aircraft in the park airspace had to obtain special permission from the FAA and if approved the unmanned aircraft had to stay in line of sight.
The NPS made it illegal to operate drones in National Parks in August 2014, siting noise and safety issues. According to the NPS drones are forbidden in the National Parks as their presence can be disturbing to both people in the parks and wildlife. It is possible to fly them in some National Forest. Each state, county, and even some cities may allow use of drones in their local parks, but the National Parks Service has made it known that National Parks has a no-fly zone for unmanned aircrafts and anyone who fails to follow Park policy will be prosecuted.
Pilots who fail to obey Park policies could end up with a $5000.00 fine and get up to six months in jail if they are caught breaking the drone rules. That includes if you post a video of you flying a drone in a restricted area you could get to a $1000.00 fine. Ignorance of the law does not get you off the hook.
The National Park Service wanted to set the example for other areas like State Parks, National Forest Land, and other areas that drone pilots might be able to currently operate. Those areas could later become restricted as well. Its hard to say what an updated policy will look like, but one thing for sure if you fail to adhere to the to NPS rules, there will be consequences.
Although drones can help protect humans from unnecessarily risky situations and keep terrorist attacks within the U.S. from happening. One of the main objectives of the human race is to have fun and live, to be able to explore the worlds hidden treasures. Drone technology is a good thing, because it allows us to do so many things. The biggest is that attacks on aggressors of war can become much more targeted, and we no longer have to fly a plane into a dangerous space. But drone technology can also deliver a pizza or make delivery stops. Unmanned drones take the risk out of a dangerous mission that a human pilot would have had to face so I think that is a good advantage of drones, I think drones are flexible and silent and can gather information or strike a target with precision, I think overall drones will become the standard in warfare in the upcoming years, and maybe a sport with shared air space.
https://www.nrpa.org/blog/top-trends-in-parks-and-recreation-for-2018/ CFR https://www.nps.gov/articles/unmanned-aircraft-in-the-national-parks.htmhttps://www.thoughtco.com/drones-banned-in-national-state-and-local-parks-756060https://gearjunkie.com/national-park-service-bans-unmanned-aircrafthttp://www.quadcoptercloud.com/drones-allowed-national-parks/http://www.latimes.com/travel/la-tr-d-spot-20160110-story.html