National Park Service Bans Drones (For Now, At Least)

Any permits previously issued for unmanned aircrafts will be suspended until further review.

The U.S. National Park Service has issued a temporary ban on drones over land and water under its jurisdiction.

On Friday, NPS director Jonathan B. Jarvis signed a policy memorandum barring the launching, operating, and landing of unmanned aircrafts, citing "serious concerns about the negative impact that flying unmanned aircraft is having in parks," he said.

The memorandum will be in effect until the service introduces other regulation. It is unknown how long this will take, and the process could require public notice and the opportunity for park goers to weigh in on the proposal. Any permits previously issued for unmanned aircrafts will be suspended until further review.

In September, rangers at the Mount Rushmore National Memorial Amphitheater confiscated a drone that flew above visitors for safety reasons. The park service also cited two instances of drone nuisances in April: At Grand Canyon National Park, a drone loudly interrupted a group gathering to watch the sunset, eventually crashing into the canyon. At Zion National Park, volunteers said a craft disturbed a herd of bighorn sheep, separating the young from the adults.

Privacy concerns over the use of drones in public spaces has hit a nerve with some Americans. Earlier this month, a woman was charged with assault after attacking a teenager operating a drone at a beach.

[Image: Flickr user Lima Pix]

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