recommended reading

Why You Can't Fly a Drone at Yellowstone

Boyd Hendrikse/Shutterstock.com

After Yosemite National Park announced it was grounding drone flights earlier this week, aspiring pilots may have set their sights on Yellowstone. But Old Faithful flyovers will have to wait too—along with any other plans to launch a drone from a national park.

"We all operate under the same policy," said National Park Service spokesman Jeff Olson. "Our policy calls [drone flying] a new recreational activity, and new recreational activities are not allowed until they're looked at, reviewed, and either approved or we decide to not allow them."

For now, that approval has not yet come.

"I don't have a firm timeline" of when a decision will be made, Olson said.

Following the Yosemite announcement, NPS noted that drones had also been harassing bighorn sheep in Zion National Park. Punishment for flying in the park, said the agency, could entail up to six months in prison and $5,000 in fines.

But most parks are unlikely to mete out that punishment, at least right away. "There's discretion at several places along that whole continuum," Olson said. "A lot of that plays into whether someone [has been] asked to stop."

And while the rules are universal, "only a handful of parks have taken direct action" to publicize the ban, Olson said. Those parks, like Yosemite and Zion, are ones that have experienced frequent issues with drones and needed to make their policies clear.

A recent Forbes article called into question the authority of NPS to stop drones, citing the aircraft regulation it used to justify the ban. Earlier in that regulation, it defines aircraft as those that carry human passengers, which would seem to exclude drones.

But, said Olson, federal regulations also allow NPS to police such things as "visitor safety, nuisances, and disorderly conduct. Those apply no matter if you are a person walking in the park or flying unmanned aircraft."

(Image via Boyd Hendrikse/Shutterstock.com)

Threatwatch Alert

Thousands of cyber attacks occur each day

See the latest threats

JOIN THE DISCUSSION

Close [ x ] More from Nextgov
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from Nextgov.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

    Download
  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

    Download
  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

    Download
  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

    Download
  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

    Download
  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.