Drones banned in East Bay Regional parks

FILE - In this Feb. 13, 2014 file photo, a drone is demonstrated in Brigham City, Utah. Researchers say there have been at least 241 reports of close encounters between drones and manned aircraft that meet the government’s definition of a near midair collision, including 28 in which pilots maneuvered to get out of the way. A report released Friday by Bard College’s Center for the Study of the Drone in New York says 90 of the close encounters involved drones and commercial jets, the majority of which had the capacity to carry 50 people or more. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

OAKLAND (KRON) — Drones are banned at East Bay Regional parks and open spaces, according to officials.

This comes as hundreds of people are expected to get drones as gifts this holiday season, and officials are reminding people that drones are dangerous to helicopters and airplanes, according to district officials.

A drone could collide with an aircraft’s fuselage or propellers or shatter an aircraft’s windshield, according to parks officials.

That could cause the aircraft to crash and kill everyone on board.

The East Bay has four busy airports, located in Oakland, Hayward, Concord and Livermore, and hospitals rely in part on helicopters to save lives.

“As more and more people get drones, they’re becoming an increasing safety hazard for aviation,” East Bay Regional Park District police Lt. Lance Brede said in a statement. “It really can be a life and death situation, and we’re very concerned about the public’s safety as well as our own,” Brede added. Drones are also disruptive to wildlife, especially birds, district officials said.

“Recreational drones can scare birds away from essential activities like feeding, roosting, and nesting,” Golden Gate Audubon Society Executive Director Cindy Margulis said in a statement. “While a single drone flushing birds into flight may not seem disruptive, when this happens over and over, birds are unable to get the food and rest they need to survive,” Margulis said.

Drones also may be a safety hazard and intrusive and annoying to park visitors. Park district officials have banned motorized planes in parks, but non-motorized remote-controlled gliders are allowed in Coyote Hills Regional
Park, Mission Peak Regional Preserve in Fremont and Del Valle Regional Park in Livermore, district officials said.

The Federal Aviation Administration now requires drone owners to register with the agency before flying outdoors.

Whether or not a person has registered their drone, drones are banned in East Bay Regional Parks and a person could be fined $300 for a violation, district officials said. Drones are banned in national parks and dozens of state and local park districts have banned drones.

Drones are banned in state parks, except with a film permit, district officials said.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s