Liz McCormick Published

Unmanned Aircrafts Prohibited on Appalachian Trail Grounds


The National Park Service is prohibiting the use of unmanned aircrafts on the Appalachian National Scenic Trail grounds.

The National Park Service issued the new policy this week for the Appalachian Trail. Park officials say it will remain in effect until they can determine that unmanned aircraft landings, launchings, or operating will not result in any negative impacts to the park grounds.

The policy was issued due to complaints from visitors and staff, as a drastic increase in noise disturbance and even harassment from those operating the unmanned aircrafts occurred.

Wendy Janssen, the superintendent of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, stated that not only would this policy affect the Appalachian Trail, but would also affect all 401 National Park Service units. The policy will be in effect for at least 18 months, and then a future policy may be discussed.

An unmanned aircraft is any device used or intended for flight without direct human intervention from within or on the aircraft. Examples include model airplanes, quadcopters, and drones used for either recreation or commerce.

The park service has not yet identified, analyzed, or examined how the unmanned aircrafts would affect the Appalachian National Scenic Trail. Officials say they are working to determine the most appropriate policy to protect park resources and ensure visitors have a rich experience.