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back to article Yosemite National Park bans drones

Iconic photographer Ansel Adams' fame was won, in part, by stunning photographs made possible by his willingness to schlep many pounds of camera gear around the steep terrain of Yosemite National Park. The guardians of the Park, the US National Park Service, has just issued an edict that the modern short-cut to such shots – …

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Black Helicopters

Destroy all drones!

I see an emerging need for a special gun. This gun would fire a big soft ball that unfolds into a spinning disk net maybe a meter wide. I need not describe what happens when said net encounters the spinning rotors of a drone...

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Linux

Re: Destroy all drones!

I still say falconry is the way to go.

"The eyes, Hercules! Go for the eyes!!!

"EEEYAHHHH!!! (Yes, master!)"

Tux--the closest thing we have to a falcon icon

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Black Helicopters

Safe havwn

I can see the revenues for the park climbing as it becomes a safe haven for spies. :P

seriously, this sounds like a good move. It is a wilderness, where the animals are supposed to be, relatively, undisturbed, buzzing around them and scaring them off seems to defeat the point. That is why there are marked trails etc.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Safe havwn

Hmm... more a case of "out with the old, out with the new", it seems.

This idea of an "undisturbed, pristine wilderness" is quite a popular modern conception (dating from the time of Ansel Adams and Nature magazine before that), but people seem to forget that the natives were evicted from Yosemite, Yellowstone and various other national parks. It's romantic notions of "nature" that got us there, without taking into consideration that man was already both top predator and steward of these lands, and as such basically was preserving the landscape anyway.

Also, anyone who thinks that drones are a hazard to the harmonious, zen-like existence of the wildlife needs their head examined, IMO.

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Re: Safe havwn

Petrol engine drone + idiot operator is a good recepy for starting wildfire. In fact an excellent one. Second best only to breaking glass bottles and leaving the shards behind you (I have had to participate in extinguishing a couple of those caused by glass myself - it is not fun).

I am surprised we have not had a drone fire yet.

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Re: Safe havwn

And how many drones with petrol engines are there? Only the ones flown by the military. Quadcopters flown by the general public are electric powered by batteries that last only a few minutes (or half hour and more if you spend $10k and above).

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Re: Safe havwn @ the axe

Yes... and of course a crashed electric drone is not a fire hazard at all, because electric sparks can't ignite dry undergrowth....

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But....

This makes Yosemite a perfect hideout then for Al-Qaeda. Yeah.. it's somewhat of a joke but there was an incident in the forests of Southern Oregon where a white supremacy group had a training camp not 2 miles from a muslim supremacy training camp. This was B.D. (Before Drones). If there had been drones, a firefight might have broke out. As it was, neither group knew the other was there. No citation, just local lore from Ashland, Oregon.

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Re: But....

sounds like an opportunity for setting a fire to clear out some of the dead wood before it builds up enough to start a serious fire!

I've not heard a drone - but when I lived not far from the Lakes you could hear the bloody water skiers on the top of all the surrounding hills - about 80 sq miles or so not very peaceful.

Personally I'd get a crossbow and take up selling spare parts

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RC license?

I remember as a kid seeing people flying RC aircraft and thinking it looked cool, and then discovering you needed a wireless radio operators license to fly them. Now any kid can zoom into your face with an out of control quadcopter. And I don't mean zoom with a camera. What happened?

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Silver badge

Not much lighter...

In order to get shots comparable with Adams', you'd still need to schlep a pretty large amount of gear - large-format cameras, tripods, lenses, filters haven't become much lighter, all you'd do is probably swap the pretty weighty glass plates for a similarly pretty weighty laptop...

You have to suffer for art you know!

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Re: Not much lighter...

A drone selfie with an iPhone using Instagram filters... That's about the height of what they will probably do with their drones. They'll just cause an annoyance.

Anyone serious about getting proper pictures would apply for a permit to go off trail anyway and they could apply for a drone permit - the article seemed to imply that permits for flying vehicles were available, just that you don't have a general right to using flying vehicles in the park.

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Bronze badge

Re: Not much lighter...

As you say, I'm sure you can get permits - there is no way the State Tourism Board won't continue to use the likes of the Copter Kids or heliguy for stunning aerial video, even if they do use a nasty petrol drone to loft their Red Epic skywards (granted those drones are not exactly in the same league as iPhone-controlled hexacopters).

That said, people need to share and share alike. Some people enjoy hiking, some people enjoy taking on the Rubicon Trail in their 4x4. Of course the British Ramblers would have anything that isn't a pair of legs banned from the countryside, whether it be 4x4 offroading, dirt biking, clay pigeon shooting or anything else, and I'm sure similar lobby groups exist in the US.

Introducing a permitting system is reasonably sensible for freelancers or private individuals pursuing their hobby, but I equally don't see why that should exclude the use of drones at all, whether privately or for organised drone weekends, photography contests, etc, etc. Using drones to get photos you can't be bothered to climb a hill for is just idleness worthy of a good slapping, but equally they offer opportunities that are physically impossible without an aerial platform of some description.

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Coat

Future Bans

Do plans for the future include a ban on jet boots and shuttle craft????

Oh, wait.....

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Thumb Up

@Peter Clarke 1 - Re: Future Bans

Damn you, Sir, you just beat me to it!! ;-)

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What would John Muir do?

Ban traffic in the park probably, not just drones.

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Bzzzzttt.... Fail

Won't hold up. Read the language of that CFR - it talks about "delivering or retrieving" something. That doesn't describe what people are doing with their drones, not at least if all they're doing is flying a camera around. All it will take is one person willing to spend the money and time to fight it.

Legislation is simply not there yet to deal with this new, cheap drone world. Look how hard the FAA is struggling to find ways to limit their use - no "commercial" purpose - just defeated BTW, as there is no regulation that actually says that. Flying limited to 400 ft ASL - again, not a regulation, just guidance that can be ignored (at your own peril of course).

I suspect before this is all over we'll have designated drone flying areas (drone "parks") where we can all go fly into each other on weekends, and they'll be banned everywhere else.

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Re: Bzzzzttt.... Fail

"Won't hold up. Read the language of that CFR - it talks about "delivering or retrieving" something. That doesn't describe what people are doing with their drones, not at least if all they're doing is flying a camera around"

Well, yes I did read the language. And it talks about "delivering or retrieving a person or object". If you want a photo using a drone, you are delivering a camera to the point to take the photo (and then you're retrieving it, unless it's a kamikaze mission that wirelessly transmits the image back).

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Anonymous Coward

Farewell global warming as the ignorants' topic of choice, hello "drones" the privacy panderer / new luddite's latest "Know nothing about it but it sounds totally awful" scare subject.

If the park had truly banned military drones that would be fine, but it has banned hobbyist RC unmanned vehicles. The same sort of sad geezers that prop up the Special Projects pages of the Reg with such admiring comments are the exact same sort of people who are being affected by this change. Those space balloons btw are unmanned aerial vehicles too.

Sorry to interrupt, please turn the ignorance taps back on.

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Bronze badge

"Farewell global warming as the ignorants' topic of choice, hello "drones" the privacy panderer / new luddite's latest "Know nothing about it but it sounds totally awful" scare subject."

I'm curious, Anonymous Coward, why you think a degree of some kind is required to grasp the reality of that buzzing, intrusive nuisance floating around over one's head. Should we just defer to 'experts' like you when our weak, ignorant brains wrongly get irritated by some techno-fool's latest toy?

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Pirate

Fine for breaking the Law in the national Park

So the usual fine for breaking this park rule is Jail, a $2000.00 fine and the loss of your gear. I wonder if the park rangers will be enforcing this rule in the same way with the same vigour as they do against other people who break this rule.

they will Hunt you down and Taser you or chase you in to the River to drown if you resist or try to run.

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Re: Fine for breaking the Law in the national Park

Hello Ken!

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Silver badge

You don't need drones to know the ski conditions at Badger Pass

You just call up the ranger station.

If you want to take a (wonderful) picture, feel free to take the lift up the mountain, and use the camera hanging around your neck.

Of course, the High Sierra camps and the trails connecting them are WONDERFUL scenery. Enjoy the hike and the views. Away from "civilization". Of course, my mom (who went with us on the outing over 50 years ago) defined "roughing it" as a trail that had showers at the end of it (and nice hot food).

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A total ban is too broad -- flying weekend needed

As someone who hikes into back country, I go to enjoy the sound of streams and the wind through the trees. As someone who likes toys, like most on this site, I think it sound like a really awesome place to fly a drone. It seems one or two weekends a year, timed to be outside mating birthing seasons, could readily allow both worlds.

Banning gas powered drones at all times seems to be sensible, particularly this very dry summer.

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What's the difference...

...between a "drone" and a plain old remote control aircraft?

(just asking)

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Saves a trip to China, N. Korea or Iran

Now if I want my camera crushed by cops, my SD card confiscated, and perhaps a bit of ruffing up by uniformed men, I can do it right here in the US. All I have to do is have a camera with some rotors.

First it's "Drones" (Flying Cameras), then it's a much shorter step to all cameras.

First it's one National Park, then it's a few, then it's the National Mall then...

Be careful, "Privacy Advocates" you may get exactly what you are asking for.

Here's another way to think of it --- What if I just hold my Quadcopter up in the air while recording? How is that not just a camera? Do you think I may get some attention from the park rangers? What if I happen to arm the motors while I do this? What if I toss it for a second, while having only adequate power to stabilize it, but not maintain flight? What if it is flying, but tethered to the ground with a string? What if the string is a pole? Getting pretty close to a stabilized camera on a mono-pole here.

At exactly what point is it "illegal"? At exactly what point does it stop being a camera and start being a "drone"? One you make these lines, it becomes very easy to blur them.

More laws NEVER increase privacy.

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