Oregon's Sole National Park Routinely Buzzed By Drones

Apr 25, 2018

The National Park Service is trying to crack down on drones being flown over popular sites, including Oregon’s Crater Lake.

A visitor gazes upon Crater Lake, Oregon.
Credit Brian Bull / KLCC

Despite being banned from national parks in 2014, they remain a growing problem.  Kean Mihata is Chief Ranger at Crater Lake.  He says notices are posted in many areas, but some operators still choose to fly drones anyway.

Credit Giorgi's Photography / Fl

Speaking on OPB’s Think Out Loud program, Mihata says drones can startle wildlife or distract from people’s enjoyment of nature.

“Y’know, annoyance is one level but if we have other aircraft in the area -- wildland fire or search-and-rescue work -- (drones) can pose a serious threat to the pilot and aircraft because drones are not seen very well from the air, and they can take down aircraft.” 

Mihata says during the summer, they get about five to seven reports a week of illegal drone activity across Crater Lake National Park. He says fines can run up to $5,000.

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