People break laws and skirt rules and regulations all the time. I’ve probably done it myself on occasion, intentionally or otherwise. Usually the violations are victimless, relatively harmless, etc., and I just shrug them off. Life’s too short to be raising my blood pressure over the acts of others.
However, I do get incensed when the violators are messing with my national parks, their environments, and my enjoyment of them. Simple, basic good manners and respect for others keep most people in line even if they aren’t aware of specific rules. But there are a distressing number of people who seem to have never learned manners, respect, thoughtfulness, etc. They seem unable to think beyond their own immediate desires.
Take for example the people who attached ropes so they could jump off and swing from one of Utah’s beautiful sandstone arches. Corona Arch isn’t in a national park, but the principle is the same. It’s on public land. It’s supposed to be protected for everyone to enjoy, now and in the future.
And surely you remember the scout leaders who toppled an ancient rock formation in Goblin Valley, Utah. Somehow they thought the rules didn’t apply to them and worse, apparently thought they were setting a good example for their scouts. Or to be more accuate, probably didn’t care that they were setting a bad example.
Now comes the issue of drones. Their numbers are soaring (no pun intended) as people discover they can use them for personal aerial photography (and surveillance?). Wedding photographers, paparazzi, reporters.
Increasing numbers of terribly inconsiderate tourists seem to think their personal aerial videos of national parks or monuments are a lot more important than the natural beauty and tranquility that fellow tourists are trying to enjoy. After all, it’s so quaint and old-fashioned to speak of protecting a park’s “soundscape.” And who cares if a few elk or birds are scared away by the noise. It’s only for a few minutes; they’ll come back. Eventually. Maybe.
Park officials finally had had enough of the nonsense and the complaints it engendered. In June a new regulation was established. No drones in the parks. Personally I wasn’t unaware of it until today, but no matter. I’d never consider flying a drone where it might disturb other people or, more importantly, the local wildlife.
Crashing drones aren’t good for the environment, either. They can damage things. And they can hurt people.
So I didn’t feel a lot of sympathy for the guy who was flying his drone in Yellowstone National Park last week and managed to crash it into Grand Prismatic Spring, the largest spring in the park and one of its main attractions. Oh noes! Bless his heart, that thing was probably expensive. And it had a camera on it, too. That camera might have contained all his vacation pictures! (I hope.)
The problem here is that the spring is some 370 feet in diameter. It’s not just a little puddle. Worse, it’s 120-150 feet deep and approximately 160°F. Definitely not a swimming pool.
What to do?
Numnuts went straight to a park employee and reported that his drone had crashed in the spring (all by itself?) and he wanted it back. The employee did not realize at the time that a no-drone reg had been enacted, and the drone’s owner was allowed to leave. He’s lucky he wasn’t arrested.
Meanwhile, park rangers are trying to determine if the spring was damaged and if the drone needs to be retrieved. Not sure how they’d do that.
GRAND PRISMATIC SPRING
Temperature 147-188°F Dimensions 250×380 feet. Grand Prismatic is the largest hot spring in Yellowstone, and is considered to be the third largest in the world-New Zealand has the two largest springs. Grand Prismatic sits upon a wide, spreading mound where water flows evenly on all sides forming a series of small, stair-step terraces. The Hayden Expedition in 1871 named this spring because of its beautiful coloration, and artist Thomas Moran made water-color sketches depicting its rainbow-like colors. The sketches seemed exaggerations and geologist A.C. Peale returned in 1878 to verify the colors. The colors begin with a deep blue center followed by pale blue. Green algae forms beyond the shallow edge. Outside the scalloped rim a band of yellow fades into orange. Red then marks the outer border. Steam often shrouds the spring which reflects the brilliant colors. Grand Prismatic discharges an estimated 560 gallons per minute.
More photos here. Hard to believe the colors are naturally occurring.