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GoPro Camera on Drone

Don’t Expect Drones in Yellowstone Any Time Soon: NPS

Though amateur and pro photographers are chomping at the bit to implement high-technology aerial photography in national parks, don’t expect drones in Yellowstone National Park any time soon — or ever.

No, we’re not talking about the large drones deployed by the U.S. military. We’re talking about small helicopter-like vehicles big enough for a camera and not much else; the photo above shows a popular drone sporting a GoPro camera. In other countries, professional and amateur photographers use drone-driven photography to good effect, but the use of photography drones has been limited in the United States. Too high and you run into federal laws covering the skies; too low and they’re useless.

And despite many arguing for their use in national parks, drones are currently prohibited by general National Park Service rules, with some parks posting more explicit rules barring their use. While there is a chance NPS officials may deploy drones for search-and-rescue missions, individual parks are examining rules for the future:

The wilderness designation also affects Yellowstone National Park, which has many areas where mechanical use is prohibited, said park spokesman Al Nash. Nash said Yellowstone already has a regulation that prohibits the landing of any kind of aerial vehicle in the park without the park’s permission, he said.

Nash added there have been requests to use unmanned aerial systems in conjunction with film permits in the park and those requests have been denied.

“There’s ongoing discussion much broader than Yellowstone about the status of unmanned aerial systems,” Nash said.

GoPro camera on drone photo via Flickr.

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