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Going to a national park? Leave the drone at home

(Yosemite National Park Facebook Photo)

PHOENIX -- The mix of drones and wilderness has seen its time together come to an end.

At least that's what national parks officials are hoping, banning the flying machines from its land. The drones that visitors have been using to get a bird's-eye view of parks have been disrupting the peace and quiet of other visitors and animals' sensibilities.

"Most animals are very sensitive to this noise," Kevin Dahl with the National Parks Conservation Association said. "And the animals are already stressed enough by the drought."

Violators using drones in the parks could be subject to up to six months in prison and a $5,000 fine.

Zion National Park officials in Utah said a drone has been hovering above the park's bighorn sheep. Last month park volunteers saw a herd of sheep scatter after being buzzed by an unmanned aerial vehicle, separating the animals from their young.

Yosemite National Park said in a press release that the California park has experienced an increase in visitors using drones over the last few years.

Drones have been spotted filming climbers ascending routes, filming views above treetops, and getting aerial footage of the park.

Grand Canyon National Park had no comment.

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About the Author


Position: Senior News Reporter. Started with KTAR July 4, 1999.

Favorite spots in Arizona: Pinetop-Lakeside, Alpine, Greer.

Have covered some of the biggest stories in Arizona including nine of the top 10 largest wildfires in state history. The Wallow Fire in 2011 became the largest fire in state history. Rodeo-Chediski Fire in June 2002, which is the second largest fire in Arizona. Covered the Yarnell Hill Tragedy in June 2013 that left 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots dead.

Favorite movies: True Grit, both 1969 John Wayne classic and the remake with Jeff Bridges and Lonesome Dove.

Sports Teams: Washington State University Cougars, Texas Longhorns, The University of Montana Grizzlies.

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