Policy Memorandum Could Ban Drones at Sleeping Bear

27 July 2014

The national debate about how to regulate “unmanned aerial vehicles,” (also known as UAVs or drones) now has some local implications for the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.  This month, the National Park Service signed a memorandum prohibiting the use of drones on lands and waters controlled by the NPS — the first step in permanent ban.

Check out the link and highlights of the UpNorthLive news story and take a minute to weigh in on the debate over at the Sleeping Bear Dunes Visitors Bureau’s Facebook page.

According to the National Conference of State Legislation, 16 states have already enacted 20 laws addressing UAV use. The laws currently on the books range from how UAVs can be used by law enforcement to regulations for their use in hunting game.

Several national parks have followed suit, most notably Grand Canyon and ZionNational Park in Utah. In the latter case, UAVs were banned shortly after park volunteers witness an unmanned UAV harassing a herd of bighorn sheep that separated adults from young animals.

On July 7th, UpNorthLive reported that the NPS had signed a temporary policy memorandum that suspends past permits issued for drones on all national parks and lakeshores. The step is just the first in a series intended to permanent national park ban.

"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."

Are you a photographer or amateur filmmaker impacted by this recent action? Do you think amateur UAV operators have a right to operate drones at the Sleeping Bear Dunes and other national parks? If you have an opinion you’d like to share, take a minute to comment over at the Sleeping Bear Dunes Visitors Bureau Facebook page.