A tourist at Yellowstone National Park accidentally crashed a drone into one of the park's most popular hot springs on Saturday. Drones are banned at all US national parks, but the blanket rule hasn't done much to stop visitors who are determined to capture amazing scenic views from the skies. Unfortunately, the Yellowstone incident is a perfect example of what can happen when operators make mistakes, and it won't do anything to help more considerate enthusiasts plead their case with the National Park Service.
Authorities are now trying to decide whether they'll need to recover the camera-equipped drone from the Grand Prismatic Spring. At 370 feet in diameter and well over 100 feet deep, it's the largest hot spring at Yellowstone, and a recovery mission could present potential damage risks of its own. "What we have to determine is whether the presence of this radio-controlled recreational aircraft poses a threat to that unique resource," a spokesperson told Reuters.
Complaints about unmanned aerial vehicles have been on the rise at Yellowstone and other parks, and the ban against drones — announced in June — was clearly intended to quell some of that frustration among tourists. But so far it's done little to help. Speaking to CNN, another spokesperson said, "The technology certainly has been around for a while, but this is the year that the problem has seemed to come to light for us."