Drones Banned From National Park System

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The National Park Service Director issued a policy memo that directs every park superintendent to ban the use of drones in their parks, according to a news release.

The ban applies to launching, landing and operation of unmanned aircraft on lands and waters administered by the National Park System, the release states.

The policy memo does not modify any requirement imposed by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on the use or operation of unmanned aircraft in the National Airspace System,” the release states. 

“There has been dramatic growth throughout the United States in the numbers and use of unmanned aircraft during recent years. As unmanned aircraft (commonly called drones) have become more affordable and easy to operate, they have begun to appear in national parks, and in many cases, their use has resulted in noise and nuisance complaints from park visitors, park visitor safety concerns, and one documented incident in which park wildlife were harassed,” according to the release. 

The National Park Service may still use unmanned aircraft for administrative purposes when it is appropriate. Purposes may include search and rescue operations, fire operations and scientific study, the release states.

This is an interim policy that will remain in place until the National Park Service develops a service-wide regulation to address unmanned aircraft in parks, according to the release.