Posted by: greentangle | August 11, 2014

Droning on

Hey World! No drones are allowed in US National Parks! Just doing my part to spread the word.

Last week someone crashed one into Grand Prismatic Spring, the largest hot spring in Yellowstone and subject of my mouse pad. It’s unknown yet whether there will be damage to the spring but people have destroyed other thermal features in the park over the years. Earlier this summer, another drone was crashed into Yellowstone Lake. They’ve bothered people at Denali, Grand Canyon, Yosemite, and Mt. Rushmore, and harassed bighorn sheep at Zion and bison at Grand Teton.

The folks bringing these machines into parks are part of the large numbers of people who I always felt shouldn’t have been let into Yellowstone when I was working there. Answering phone calls there was amazing–so many people didn’t have a clue about where Yellowstone was or how to get there, thought it was some kind of amusement park, and planned to go camping in grizzly country without ever having slept in their back yards. They had no knowledge of or any real interest in nature; they were just coming because it was a famous place.

With that sort of background it comes as no surprise that they have no idea how to act around wildlife and no respect for the natural holy place they find themselves in. People with drones don’t know how to be in nature, so they try to replicate the nature they’ve seen on television.

A recent issue of High Country News focused on the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act. Wilderness is passe in what passes as environmentalism these days, and people who spend any time outdoors are more interested in activities which provide an adrenaline rush than hiking and appreciation of natural history. I figure it’s part of the natural cycle preparing me to die as I get more and more disgusted with and more removed from human society as I get older.

I haven’t gotten official word yet on whether I’ll be returning to Yellowstone in December. Whether then or in the spring, I’m going to be bringing some new technology of my own this time. When I’d look out my dorm window and see tourists bothering wildlife, or see people walking on thermal features while I was hiking, I’d often wish I had a phone handy. This time I will, and I expect I’ll be calling rangers on a regular basis to report the various defilers of the temple.

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