After Yosemite National Park announced it was grounding drone flights earlier this week, aspiring pilots may have set their sights on Yellowstone. But Old Faithful flyovers will have to wait too — along with any other plans to launch a drone from a national park.
“We all operate under the same policy,” said National Park Service spokesman Jeff Olson. “Our policy calls [drone flying] a new recreational activity, and new recreational activities are not allowed until they’re looked at, reviewed, and either approved or we decide to not allow them.”
For now, that approval has not yet come.
“I don’t have a firm timeline” of when a decision will be made, Olson said.
Following the Yosemite announcement, NPS noted that drones had also been harassing bighorn sheep in Zion National Park. Punishment for flying in the park, said the agency, could entail up to six months in prison and $5,000 in fines.
But most parks are unlikely to mete out that punishment, at least right away. “There’s discretion at several places along that whole continuum,” Olson said. “A lot of that plays into whether someone [has been] asked to stop.”
And while the rules are universal, “only a handful of parks have taken direct action” to publicize the ban, Olson said. Those parks, like Yosemite and Zion, are ones that have experienced frequent issues with drones and needed to make their policies clear.
A recent Forbes article called into question the authority of NPS to stop drones, citing the aircraft regulation it used to justify the ban. Earlier in that regulation, it defines aircraft as those that carry human passengers, which would seem to exclude drones.
But, said Olson, federal regulations also allow NPS to police such things as “visitor safety, nuisances, and disorderly conduct. Those apply no matter if you are a person walking in the park or flying unmanned aircraft.”
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With three days until the first debate, the polls are coming fast and furious. The latest round:
- An Associated Press/Gfk poll of registered voters found very few voters committed, with Clinton leading Trump, 37% to 29%, and Gary Johnson at 7%.
- A McClatchy-Marist poll gave Clinton a six-point edge, 45% to 39%, in a four-way ballot test. Johnson pulls 10% support, with Jill Stein at 4%.
- Rasmussen, which has drawn criticism for continually showing Donald Trump doing much better than he does in other polls, is at it again. A new survey gives Trump a five-point lead, 44%-39%.
In contrast to Hillary Clinton's meticulous debate practice sessions, Donald Trump "is largely shunning traditional debate preparations, but has been watching video of…Clinton’s best and worst debate moments, looking for her vulnerabilities.” Trump “has paid only cursory attention to briefing materials. He has refused to use lecterns in mock debate sessions despite the urging of his advisers. He prefers spitballing ideas with his team rather than honing them into crisp, two-minute answers.”
Donald Trump "is on the precipice of becoming the only major-party presidential candidate this century not to reach out to millions of American voters whose dominant, first or just preferred language is Spanish. Trump has not only failed to buy any Spanish-language television or radio ads, he so far has avoided even offering a translation of his website into Spanish, breaking with two decades of bipartisan tradition."
Bill and Hillary Clinton have purchased the home next door to their primary residence in tony Chappaqua, New York, for $1.16 million. "By purchasing the new home, the Clinton's now own the entire cul-de-sac at the end of the road in the leafy New York suburb. The purchase makes it easier for the United States Secret Service to protect the former president and possible future commander in chief."