James River Water Levels

Westham Gauge
Gauge Height: 4.86'
Flow: 4400 cfps

Trail Conditions: Richmond


Todays Tides: Richmond Locks

High Tide: 12:12am
Low Tide: 7:24pm

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Are drones ruining Yosemite?

Credit: Getty Images/TeodoraDjordjevic

Credit: Getty Images/TeodoraDjordjevic

Any docent or security guard can tell you that it’s a tedious but necessary task to enforce a museum’s no-photography policy. Those vigilant souls who guard rooms at the Uffizi or the Guggenheim have it easy, however, compared to park rangers at Yosemite National Park, who now have a very 21st century problem on their hands: the rise in visitor drone use.

As the Los Angeles Times reported on Friday, rangers are increasingly worried that drones are ruining Yosemite’s natural beauty and soundscape. A statement from park officials claimed, “Drones have been witnessed filming climbers ascending climbing routes, filming views above treetops, and filming aerial footage of the park.”

As personal drones have become (relatively) affordable for the average consumer, they have gained popularity for their ability to take pictures from places that were previously inaccessible. Unsurprisingly, national parks are sought after destinations for those eager to give flight to their unmanned devices.

Although officials at Yosemite have iterated that the park strictly forbids visitors from using drones, Greg McNeal at Forbes has argued that there is nothing in NPS regulations that prohibits guests from using drones.

That is likely to change as more and more people send tiny their aircraft into the skies.