In a statement released Friday, park officials banned the use of the popular unmanned aerial craft, citing concerns that drones could potentially interfere with wildlife or rescue operations in addition to creating “an environment that is not conducive to wilderness travel.”
Recreational drone usage has increased significantly in the past few years as the craft have gotten less expensive and become more readily available. Drones are often mounted with cameras and used to take bird’s-eye photos and videos, which are later posted to social media channels. To date, Yosemite has not issued a summons to anyone operating a drone.
The legality of a ban, however, may be in question. After digging into the park’s bylaws, Forbes writes that drones are likely exempt under the current NPS and FAA definitions of what constitutes an “aircraft,” therefore leaving any regulations open to legal challenge.