JACKSON, Wyo. – A tourist flew a drone into a Yellowstone National Park hot spring despite a park ban on drones.

Park spokesman Al Nash said the drone’s operator reported that the aircraft crashed into the picturesque Grand Prismatic Spring last weekend.

Tourists witnessed the crash.

The drone is submerged in the spring’s 160-degree waters. Officials hope to remove it.

“Our concern is about any potential impacts to the iconic Yellowstone thermal feature,” Nash said.

Grand Prismatic is known for its vivid colors and measures 300 feet across.

Nash says few details are being released because the incident is under investigation.

In July, a drone crashed into Yellowstone Lake near the Grant Village Marina. And officials in Grand Teton National Park issued one citation for flying a camera-carrying drone within park boundaries. That drone was trapped in a tree, and someone later stole it from the tree, said park spokeswoman Jackie Skaggs.

She warned that park rangers will soon be less lenient with those who unknowingly violate the National Park Service ban.

“Although we often try to educate people – at this point there is less discretion being used for issuing citations relating to drone use,” Skaggs said.

In Yellowstone, Nash noted, “we are beginning to get an increasing number of complaints from park visitors about people illegally flying these devices.”

“Think of how many people are going to be on the boardwalk at Old Faithful on a given August afternoon,” Nash said. “What might happen if someone even had one of these smaller devices and lost control of it over a big crowd?”

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(12) comments


If it feels good then do it. Laws be damned! No different then going on a nude bike ride. Perhaps we could have a drone day at National Parks where the laws magically don't exist for one day. If you don't like drones you are just intolerant and old-fashioned and need to stay away from National Parks on that day. Suck on that hippies!


Smiley, although I think you're a little extreme in some issues, I must commend you for the drone work. I have never encountered one, when out and about, nor do I want to. I think they have a purpose in the world, but should not be allowed recreationally over public lands.




The Park Service needs to stop being lenient, and begin issuing citations to these inconsiderate scofflaws.


Roger, the NPS is on it; they have lost their patience already and are going straight to ticketing as it said in the article: "She warned that park rangers will soon be less lenient with those who unknowingly violate the National Park Service ban". And: “Although we often try to educate people – at this point there is less discretion being used for issuing citations relating to drone use.” I do not wish anyone to get injured but I am glad that the NPS is now viewing this as a safety issue which they should because if a drone with its weight and velocity of falling out of the sky hit someone in the head it surely would kill them. The other advantage of viewing drones as a safety issue is that will rid us quicker and more permanently of these terribly annoying devices in the skies above national parks.


jeffak, the banning of snowboards was a policy set by private companies. The banning of drones is a law in areas mandated by Congress that are set aside strictly for preservation. The airspace over national parks is in the process of changing in so many drastic ways most of the public is unaware. First of all national parks are established and listed as “Special Conservation Areas” and “Noise Sensitive Areas”. For the first time in aviation history Congress mandated that the FAA, and the FAA alone, is prohibited from creating, implementing and enforcing regulations having to do with the air space above national parks; Congress mandated in 1996 that all matters involving the air space above national parks must be decided jointly in cooperation between the National Park Service and the Federal Aviation Administration. Another big breakthrough for our national parks also came about during the mid-1990’s. The NPS has listed and has managed “Quiet” for about fifteen years now as a natural resource and is administrated by the NPS Natural Soundscapes Program. Our federal land management agencies fortunately recognize that social impacts are outpacing resource impacts. Resource impacts through good science and aggressive management are faring well. Now these agencies are turning much of their research and management into mitigating the social impacts that have been neglected far too long. Social impacts include noise and visual disturbances in and around our national parks – things that disturb visitors experience and wildlife but may not leave a permanent scar on the resource and high on that list is flyovers of any kind.


At one time snowboards were banned from ski mountains too....


So by your way of thinking, they should be able to fly their drones, crash them into thermal features that took thousands of years to form and not worry about it? Ya, sounds reasonable to me! NOT!


I really don't need to say many words beyond the fact that people are brilliantly helping in a cause that I personally have worked tiresomely on for years - the banning and prohibition of drones over national parks. Flying drones over all national parks has now been officially banned permanently for over a month now and people are still flying hard and driving home the very nails in the very coffin I have painstakingly lobbied for over eight years. Without divulging any specific information (stand by) several more high-profile areas are close to announcing similar bans on drone flyovers.


"Nash said. "What might happen if someone even had one of these smaller devices and lost control of it over a big crowd?"

Well, I suppose that someone would get bonked on the head. Hardly a national emergency. I'd be worried about more serious things if I were Nash.


Middle Finger the weight and speed of many drones would undoubtedly kill a person when hit in the head and possibly several people at the same time. The FAA has already banned drones from flying above crowds in any setting.


The chances of this happening are so minimal, it's not even worth discussing. You're more likely to get mauled by elk, buffalo, wolves, and bears in YNP. Perhaps we should ban them from the park...smh

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