With the rapid increase of the use of UAV (unmanned aerial vehicles) National Parks have made it illegal to fly within the park. Yellowstone has specified fines of up to $5,000 and 6 months in jail for flying within their park.
On August 29th Yellowstone issued a release, stating:
While taking a largely educational stance during the early phases of publicizing the ban, Yellowstone rangers have developed several criminal cases involving egregious violations of this ban.
World-wide attention was drawn to an incident where an unmanned aircraft crashed into Grand Prismatic Spring the afternoon of August 2. Theodorus Van Vliet of the Netherlands crashed his unmanned aircraft into the iconic hot spring. Van Vliet, who is cooperating with the ongoing investigation, has been charged with several violations of federal law and if found guilty faces up to $5,000 in fines and/or six months in jail and/or five years on probation.
Park staff members are still trying to determine if the material from which the unmanned aircraft is constructed poses a threat to the hot spring. Attempts to locate the device both from the ground and from a manned helicopter overflight have turned up possible areas in the pool where the unit may have come to rest. If its location can be confirmed, park staff members will determine if there is a way to safely remove the device without damaging the thermal feature.
Gregory S. McNeal is a professor specializing in law and public policy believes the fines and prison time is radially out of proportion. He proposes that a first time offense to be more like $350 to $1,000. To learn more, check out the Forbes article HERE.
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