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Yosemite reinforces ban on drones as videos gain in popularity

Videographers were using drones to capture Yosemite's rugged landscape for some highly produced footage
The drones, officials said, posed a safety threat and ruined the aesthetics of the wilderness

Before Yosemite National Park issued a stern warning to visitors about the illegal use of drones on Friday, amateur videographers were using the unmanned aircraft to capture the rugged landscape for some highly produced footage.

Many of those videos, complete with background music and themes, end up on YouTube, fanning their popularity. But that trend invited the ire of park rangers, who reminded visitors about the ban on unmanned aircraft last week after noticing an increase in the number of drones filming climbers and tree tops in the last few years.

While some drone videos offer 360-degree views of the park, others show videographers setting up their aircraft and only capturing a slight above-ground view of the environment.

The drones, officials said in a statement, posed a safety threat and ruined the aesthetics of the wilderness.

"Drones can be extremely noisy and can impact the natural soundscape," officials said. "Drones can also impact the wilderness experience for other visitors, creating an environment that is not conducive to wilderness travel."

While Yosemite officials have banned visitors from using drones, Cal Fire and the California Air National Guard used the unmanned aircraft last August to fight the massive Rim fire near the park.

Officials began using drones during the firefight to better understand the blaze's behavior while also offering them real-time imagery.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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