Fort banned drones before the nationwide ban kicked in

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- There will be no more drones at national parks, at least for now.

It's a new rule put into place by the National Park Service.

For a couple of years, the Castillo de San Marcos – or the fort – in St. Augustine has seen an increase in drones flying about it. So three months ago, Superintendent Gordie Wilson banned drones from that national park in St. Augustine.

"Those unmanned aircraft would come into close proximity to our visitors while we were doing programs. It's distracting and it causes concerns with our visitors because they don't know what they're going to do," Wilson said.

Wilson said they deal with drones once or twice a week at the fort.

Then, a few weeks ago, the national park service banned drones nationwide because other parks were dealing with drones too.

Wilson added, the nationwide ban is in effect until we could work with them federal aviation administration and look for some more structure controls to put into place.

Chad Light of St. Augustine uses a drone to take videos of his city and he posts them online.

"I'm not using it for commercial purposes. This is to promote St. Augustine. I'm not making any money off it. In fact, I'm in the hole," Light said, "but I love the city and this is a hobby. The images are incredible!"

Light has taken video from his drone of the fort, but he was across the street and so was his drone, and he had permission to be there.

"I was shooting down onto the NPS property," Light said. "However. That is well within the guidelines of what is permissible."

Light pilots his drone with creativity and with caution.

"It allows us to get shots that were impossible on this kind of budget," he noted.

However, he's surprised there haven't been more rules with these devices, and he believes the ban at parks came about because of drone pilots with poor judgment.


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