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UNMANNED AERIAL SYSTEMS BANNED
FROM CARLSBAD CAVERNS NATIONAL PARK
CARLSBAD, New Mexico - Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), commonly known as "drones" are banned from many national parks across the U.S., including Carlsbad Caverns.
Officials at Carlsbad Caverns National Park have adopted the ban.Anyone caught using model airplanes, quadcopters or other types of drones within the park's boundaries could face fines and possible jail time.
In June, National Park Service (NPS) Director Jonathan Jarvis directed all parks to take steps to prohibit the use of the increasingly popular aircraft that are
often used to take photos and videos. Southwest national parks like Canyonlands, Arches, Grand Canyon and Zion have recently put bans in place.
When Jarvis announced the ban, he said incidents involving unmanned aircraft at national parks around the country prompted the decision. One of the most recent events involved the crash of a drone into Yellowstone's famous Grand Prismatic Spring.Drones have also been used to harass wildlife. The NPS is working to develop a permanent rule banning the use of UASs in parks. Some administrative uses of the vehicles such as use in search and rescue operations and other resource protection functions could remain available to park staff.
"As the National Park Service develops a permanent rule regarding the use of UAS, we have assigned an interim ban on drones due to potential resource and visitor impact inside and outside of the cavern," said Chuck Burton, acting superintendent.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is also working to regulate drones amid public demand. Real estate agents, farmers and others want to use drones for commercial purposes. University and government researchers are also using drones in a variety of studies. The FAA is working on a rule for drone use that the agency expects to release for public comment by the end of the year.
For more information about Carlsbad Caverns hours, cave tours, and other activities, call 575/785-2232 or visit www.nps.gov/cave.