The nerve of some people

GrandPrismaticSpring

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.

And tourists.

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.

From YellowstoneNationalPark.com:

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.

 

GrandPrismaticSpring2

22 comments

  1. “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.”

    You just described every politician I’ve ever met or read about. Who/what we elect to represent us says a lot about us, apparently…

  2. Someone flew one abound the Space Needle here in downtown Seattle – the video went viral – now everyone is up in arms about the loss of privacy of the drone peeking in the windows at the people eating or at the bar.

    1. I’d be up in arms too. The idea of being watched by someone when I didn’t know it would creep me out. I’ve no expectation of privacy in a public place, though, and I believe in window coverings when I want to ensure privacy.

  3. Hi PT,
    Drones (UAS) are getting so much attention this year, but the remote control quad-helicopter with a camera attached seems most popular. As expensive as these “toys” are… seems the owners would be particularly careful with them. I kinda support the small town ?in CO i think? that tried to make it legal to shoot them down. Definitely don’t want to be enjoying solitude in RMNP until some idiot flies a UAS in my face; was thrilled they are prohibited in the nat’l parks. Feel sorry for the ranger who let the owner leave… will probably be reprimanded by supervisors.

    1. Yep, that was the wide spot in the road called Deer Trail, Colo. The talk of drone-hunting licenses got them a lot of free publicity. Ultimately they voted down the proposal.

      The FAA or somebody needs to get a handle on this drone thing. And fast. People are flying them into commercial airspace, causing a few pilots to have to change course. Only a matter of time before they cause a crash.

  4. Well if you can believe this, this morning in the local newspaper was an extensive article about a high school here in Arkansas in one of our smaller towns which will offer a year-long course in the study and building of UAV’s (unmanned aerial vehicles or drones). The principal of the high school noted that UAV’s are becoming quite popular with the teenagers and provide an excellent platform for getting students excited about school and education. The class will center on building, programming and operating unmanned aerial vehicles.

    Doesn’t just the thought of that thrill your little heart to death…. 😀

    1. In one sense I can see the drones as something like model radio-controlled airplanes. Except the planes I’ve seen always fly at limited altitude in a circle around the operator. We can only hope that classes like this will teach responsibility and that the FAA will get some strict rules in place very soon. Not that rules discourage wanton violators … 😦

      Would you believe part of my appreciation of drones comes from playing Battlefield? One of my soldier’s recon gadgets is a drone that can spot enemies and destroy mortars, radio beacons, and mines (and any enemy standing too close). Great fun.

      1. Darn, I don’t have access to that weapon’s system on any of my games. Probably because I’m less than current on games. I play all my ‘battle’ games on my computer and the latest games require Windows 7 or 8 and I am still running WIndows XP. I’m able to control my actions better on the PC than on the Play Station controller. 😕

        1. I did my gaming on a PC for many years. Then my son gave me an Xbox for Christmas about 5 years ago and I’ve been playing on consoles ever since. It still feels klutzy, but you can’t beat being sprawled on the sofa instead of hunched in an office chair.

  5. Pandionna– I like the way you think & love that mental video 🙂 Wonder if all drone sales will come with a list of lawyers to sue land/property owners for “unlawful confiscation of property” or something…..

  6. Geesh. Please keep a little peace and quiet in the National Parks – so difficult to find any of that anymore. (Oh, the used to actually toss stuff into the geysers then scoop the items out after calcified(?) coated and sell them as souvenirs to tourist. I have a big spoon my Grandmother got as a child when visiting there…they stopped worried the junk would clog the geysers up)

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