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Discussion in 'Campground Etiquette' started by Mosbyranger, Jun 20, 2017.
It's a large national park (and treasure)... Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness
Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, USFS (U.S. Forest Service?) - it's always sounded intriguing to us, but I don't do canoes - nor tolerate mosquitoes. (Courtenay would love to canoe some of it.)
"Acronym" page updated. There's been a lot of new acronyms in the past month or two.
I really dislike the internet tough guys here. Even if someone is violating rules or laws, doesn't give you the right to destroy personal property. And several of the comments are talking about things that are perfectly legal (e.g. flying over your house, above a certain altitude).
This is the equivalent of "I don't like how you parked, so I'm going to key your car".
Yeah, well I've seen how you park Fischer!
So YOU'RE the one lol!
Before I dive into this, please read all the way through before reacting. I am going to disagree, and then agree with you to make my points, all mean with full due respect.
The park isn't just yours. It is shared public lands, your enjoyment of the land does not require someone elses enjoyment gets cut off, and as long as the enjoyment of the land (and air) is being done within the rules you really need to be adult about it and either deal with it, or move on.
In parks where they are permitted, you really just need to bite the bullet and deal, or go elsewhere. The kid flying 3 feet above the trailer was WAY out of bounds for sure, however, like it or not, your statement that "I would have attempted to down it." would have likely landed you in jail for interfering with the operation of an aircraft, just the same as you had intentionally downed a commercial airliner.
I understand your perspective that you want to get away from surveillance, I totally get it, but your enjoyment of the parks isn't just yours. Yes the UAV pilots were apparently in the wrong. However I disagree totally with he ranger that a drone / UAV is an "off road vehicle", as for the purposes for the parks department the term "off road vehicle" has typically been understood to mean things like jeeps, side by sides, ATVs, dune buggies, dirt bikes etc.. designed to travel over terrain while connected to the ground, typically wheeled or tracked vehicles, not airial vehicles, or boats. The Ranger is stretching. And chances are that at least through the research I have done online since I am not a resident of Colorado, but unless you are using the drone for scouting for, or tracking wildlife, they are absolutely permitted within state parks.
The description you give of the park "high Colorado sage desert with no shade." tells me no trees, or very few trees to potentially crash a drone into, thus it is an ideal location for flying a drone.
There ARE rules and regulations regarding the use of UAVs. And if the pilots in question are flying above or within an unsafe proximity to persons or private property (your trailer is an example) they are in violation of those rules and regulations. Get the FAA ID off of the drone and report it, or move on.
Now having said all that please understand where I agree with you.
According to the FAA rules, the pilots flying over your trailer / campsite are absolutely in the wrong. It is incredibly rude, and against the FAA regulations. If the parks do have regulations against them in the parks, they need to enforce those regulations. If possible, you could have addressed the issue by simply asking the pilot(s) to fly elsewhere. Simple social courtesy often overcomes discourtesy, as we all know however not allways, and again, get official support / backup if need be, or buck it up and leave.
You also stated "It sure could be a conflict starter" and to this you are absolutely correct. So could cooking bacon, driving into / out of the campground with a loud vehicle, crying babies, the sound of a water pump, air conditioner, heater, snoring etc... If people are determined to be offended and respond badly to stimulus, tehy will start a conflict. Again, this is a good time to be an adult and either deal with the issue in a civil manner, or move on where the offending stimulus isn't there.
On the matter of intentionally downing a drone I refer you to the following aricle.
FAA Confirms Shooting a Drone is a Federal Crime.
And I quote...
"According to Loretta Alkalay, an aviation attorney who teaches Drone Law at Vaughn College of Aeronautics and Technology, the statute also prohibits interfering with anyone "engaged in the authorized operation of such aircraft" and carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison. Since drones are considered aircraft, threatening a drone or a drone operator, according to Ms. Alkalay, would also be a federal crime subject to five years in prison under this same statute."
So unless you are looking for a potentially combined 25 years of accomodations at the Federal Gray Bar hotel level, I would NOT recommend taking any efforts to remove unmanned aircraft from the sky or interfere with the pilot.
I totally get not wanting drones close enough to peer into your trailer windows. If that was occuring, I would go to the parents (if you operator was a kid) or the ranger/camp host and let them know.
If talking to the parents, I would mak it non-confrontational and say something like "my teenage daughter was reading in the camper and suddenly this drone was hanging outside watching her. If I had one as as kid, I would have been doing this same thing, but my daughter didn't see it that way. Could you ask your kid if he could just keep it away from the RV?"
Odds are the father would laugh and say "yeah, no problem" or the mom would say "OMG! What is wrong with that boy!". If they responded poorly or let it keep happening, then you could go to the ranger.
There are GPS no fly zones that almost all commercially available drones automatically refuse to fly in. However there are those that intentionally bypass those restrictions through use of illegal software updates. For example most federal government installations are no fly zones.
For the most part, although not 100% for sure, people flying drones, particularly over public land, and NOT AT ALL INTERESTED IN YOU, OR WHAT YOU ARE DOING. Having said that no doubt there are young guys out there trying to get a gander and young ladies and vice versa, but they are the exception rather than the rule.
Most people flying a drone, particularly a camera drone over public land are trying to shoot interesting photos, and videos of the landscapes from perspectives not possible from ground height.
Having said that, I am 6' tall, I have an action cam, and a gimbal. That gimbal with no accessories allows me to extend the camera perspective up to a maximum of 6' off the ground as I raise the camera up. I also have fixed extensions for the gimbal that give me 24" extension, plus an expanding extension that gives me another 24" for a total of 48" added potential height, add to the 8' and you get a total potential height of 12', now assume I get obnoxious and step up on the picnic table in the site next to yours, to add an additional 3' to my overall height, giving me a total potential camera height of 15'. I am now able to get that same shot the kid with the drone that was flying 3' above the OP's trailer, or actually most likely slightly higher by a few feet as the height of most pop ups is what, maybe 8 - 9 feet when set up? so probably able to catch 3'-4' more than that kid was flying.
Again obnoxious as all get out, but most likely not against park rules.
Now for example let's say I wanted to get a lifting shot of the campground and park using this rig...
This is completely noiseless operation, and say you are a couple of spaces down the park from where I am doing my thing. As I raise the camera up, your rig is likely going to come into view. Since you are on public property you have no legal right to any expectation of privacy, so if you don't want my camera seeing what is in your trailer, keeping the window flaps / curtains closed is to your benefit.
So with this hypothetical, the only difference between the drone operation, and what I describe is thus...
#!. The drone operation has the additional restrictions of FAA, and possible park regulations to abide by that are not typically leveraged against hand held cameras.
#2. The drone makes noise, sometimes considerable noise, where the hand held camera is nearly silent.
I am not advocating that drone pilots be allowed to do whatever they please whenever, or wherever they wish, on the contrary, what I am advocating here is that people have a realistic reaction to drones and the newer technologies. They are here, and likely here to stay, at least for the remaining duration of my lifetime, in one shape or form. Cameras in particular, since inexpensive digital photography and videography became common, we almost to the literal ends of the earth cannot escape them much as we would like to, without going much further afield than your typical recreational campers is willing to go, and even then, unless you are hiding in a cave somewhere, chances are you are under the digital eye of orbital satelite cameras. Ever seen Google Earth? That's super rough compared to what the government has had available for at least the last 30 years! Makes me wonder if they get lens flare off of my bald spot!
Then there are trail cams, dash cams, cell phone video, helmet cams I could go on and on and on and on, but hopefully you get the point.