- The Washington Times - Monday, May 5, 2014

The National Park Service said too many drone users have been operating their crafts inside Yosemite boundaries, and that the noisy flights are putting birds and sensate wildlife — as well as the scenic surroundings — in jeopardy.

Park ranger Scott Gediman told the Associated Press that drone sightings at Yosemite National Park are now a common experience.

“There has been an increasing use of the drones just because they are more prevalent on the market. It’s a new toy,” said Mr. Gediman, a ranger for nearly 20 years. “Most if not all of the people using these are simply unaware that they’re illegal.”

The park service issued a statement and posted advisories on Twitter and Facebook to remind park visitors to leave drones at home — particularly because the airborne vessels disturb peregrine falcons, which nest on cliff walls, and other sensitive wildlife creatures.

The drones can prove distracting to rangers and emergency rescue responders — and they’re noisy, Mr. Gediman said.

“It takes away from the soundscape and the beauty of the park,” he told AP.

• Cheryl K. Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com.

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