Drones could be banned at Sleeping Bear Dunes
A policy memorandum is signed Monday that prohibits launching, landing, or operating unmanned aircraft on lands and waters administered by the National Park Service, which includes Sleeping Bear Dunes.
According to the National Park Service, several national parks have already prohibited unmanned aircraft after noise and nuisance complaints from park visitors.
At the Grand Canyon National Park, visitors were interrupted by a loud unmanned aircraft flying back and forth that crashed in the canyon. Later in the month, Zion National Park volunteers' witnessed an unmanned aircraft disturbing a heard of bighorn sheep that separated adults from young animals.
"We embrace many activities in national parks because they enhance visitor experiences with the iconic natural, historic and cultural landscapes in our care," says National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis.
"However, we have serious concerns about the negative impact that flying unmanned aircraft is having in parks, so we are prohibiting their use until we can determine the most appropriate policy that will protect park resources and provide all visitors with an rich experience."
This policy will take a number of steps to exclude unmanned aircraft from national parks including drafting a written justification for the action, ensuring compliance with applicable laws, and providing public notice of the action.
The Federal Aviation Administration over the National Airspace System will not be affected.
This policy memorandum is only temporary in which Jarvis says the next step will be to propose a service wide regulation regarding unmanned aircraft. Depending on the complexity of the rule, this process could take considerable time allowing public notice and opportunity for public to comment.
Previous permits issued for drones will be suspended until reviewed by the associate director of the National Park Service's Visitor and Resource Protection directorate.
The National Park Service can use unmanned aircraft for search and rescue, fire operations, as well as scientific study.