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Do you think admission to a national park is steep?  How about a $5,000 fine?  I saw a picture on Instagram this week.  From the Tourons of Yellowstone page.  It showed a man on an embankment controlling a drone over a body of water.  Below the picture was a short story.  He denied knowledge of the ban on drones, however.  A writer said when you’re training on drone operations (is there some sort of course) that you learn about the park regulations.  The man’s case was said to be forwarded to investigators.  I couldn’t find any specific details about the individual in the photograph.

I did find there’s a history of fines being assessed for illegally flying drones in parks.  There are some special permits issued for scientific research and documentary producers, but otherwise, this is an activity frowned upon.

A dozen years ago, I piloted a backyard drone at a store where I was doing a remote broadcast.  It was fun for a few minutes.  Then I lost interest.  I’m not sure my neighbors would appreciate me flying one over their barbecue, swimming pool, or worse, outside a bedroom window.

That said, I would have interest in flying over some of our great geographic wonders in the mountain west.  I was at the visitor center in Twin Falls and saw a couple of guys piloting a drone over the canyon.  When I asked them questions, they grew annoyed a local person was talking with them.  They brought the drone back to the rim and then climbed into an out-of-state car and left.  I won’t shed a tear if they never come back.

RANKED: Here are the most popular national parks

To determine the most popular national parks in the United States, Stacker compiled data from the National Park Service on the number of recreational visits each site had in 2020. Keep reading to discover the 50 most popular national parks in the United States, in reverse order from #50 to #1. And be sure to check with individuals parks before you visit to find out about ongoing, pandemic-related safety precautions at


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