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Contact: Betty Lieurance, 970-529-4608
The Superintendent's Compendium for Mesa Verde National Park has been updated for 2014, and includes language prohibiting unmanned aircraft, including drones, quadcopters, and model airplanes, from taking off or landing inside the park boundary.
The new policy restricting drone use in all national park units came from the Office of the Director of the National Park Service on June 20, 2014. It explains: "The National Park Service embraces many activities in national parks because they enhance visitor experiences with the iconic natural, historic and cultural landscapes in our care. However, we have serious concerns about the negative impact that flying unmanned aircraft is having in parks, so we are prohibiting their use while we examine their impact on park resources." According to a statement released by Jon Jarvis, Director of the National Park Service, "The primary goal is to ensure that we can protect park resources and ensure visitor safety while providing all visitors with a rich experience."
The use of unmanned aircraft is a new park use that affects park resources, staff, and visitors in ways that the National Park Service has yet to identify and analyze. It is National Park Service policy to not allow a new park use until a determination has been made that it will not result in unacceptable impacts on park resources and values.
"Mesa Verde National Park will enforce restrictions on the use of drones until the determination is made regarding their use and potential unintended consequences on park resource values, including Wilderness, solitude, quiet, and direct impacts to sensitive species" according to Superintendent Cliff Spencer.
The Mesa Verde National Park Superintendent's Compendium is a document which is reviewed annually and provides regulations and guidance on specific park activities within the authority of the Superintendent, under Title 36 Code of Federal Regulations. This closure to drone use is an interim policy that will remain in place until the National Park Service develops a Service-wide regulation to address unmanned aircraft through the public rulemaking process.
To review the Compendium or for more information, call 970-529-4465.