Despite a ban that had been put in place over national parks’ airspace when it comes to unmanned drones, Yellowstone has had their fair share of troubles with the aircrafts in just the past few months. Ever since unmanned aircrafts were being seen and considered for commercial and personal use, Yellowstone has been concerned. And while they didn’t have any trouble until they banned the drones, they have a few instances since then which are being put through legal action to find a suitable punishment if they are guilty.
The drone ban was done in June 2014, and Yellowstone alone has seen a crashed drone on August 2, and two instances of people flying the drones within the park. Although Yellowstone has been working hard to make it known to people that drones are not acceptable in the park, it does seem that a few of these people were completely unaware that they could not do it.
Fortunately for Yellowstone, ignorance of the new law does not excuse the offenders, so each case has seen criminal charges against those people.
The earliest of these incidents, on July 17, included a man who flew and crashed a drone into the Yellowstone Lake, near the West Thumb Marina. It resulted in the individual receiving multiple charges, including filming on National park property without a permit and operating the drone. Further information about what he was filming and why was not disclosed.
The most recent that media has been made aware of, was in August and was caused by an unmanned craft being flown over the Midway Geyser Basin. Since that drone didn’t crash it has not caused nearly as much damage as the August 2 drone that crashed into the Grand Prismatic Hotsprings. Park Rangers are still trying to assess what kind of damage the drone could cause in the hotsprings and whether they can fish it out without further damaging the rare Yellowstone sight.
One thing is for sure though; Yellowstone was certainly serious when they said these unmanned drones are banned. The last thing they want are these drones causing damage to a beautiful place.