Presentation Type

Poster

Faculty Mentor’s Full Name

Jennifer Thomsen

Faculty Mentor’s Department

Parks, Tourism, and Recreation Management

Abstract

Exploring Perspectives on Recreational Drone Use on Public Lands

Parks, Tourism, and Recreation Management

Recreational drone use has increased in popularity and accessibility over the past several years. As of early 2018, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has recorded one million drone registrations with 87% of those being hobbyist registrations (Vanian, 2018). Drones have become more affordable, and, thus, more people are purchasing them for recreation. Often, drone users fly on public lands, but there are many concerns and challenges that go along with recreational drone use including privacy, safety, and impacts to wildlife and resources. For example, in August of 2014, a visitor to Yellowstone National Park flew his drone to gain a better view at the Grand Prismatic Hot Spring, but then crashed the drone into the spring and it was never recovered. Despite these challenges, there has been outstanding footage from drones flown where humans rarely go and drones can offer unique opportunities for visitor engagement on public lands. But, how do we keep our resources protected and address the privacy concerns while still allowing some managed drone use? These different management options need to be explored depending on the area and particular usage. Despite these challenges and opportunities, there has been very limited research on recreational drone use. To address this gap, 16 senior PTRM students conducted a study on recreational drone use around Missoula, MT. Surveys were conducted with the public on their perceptions about recreational drone use, the public lands where drone use can take place, and the types of management actions. The study offers initial findings on public perceptions and can inform local management of drones and inform future research and policies on public lands.

Category

Social Sciences

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Apr 27th, 3:00 PM Apr 27th, 4:00 PM

Recreational Drone Use on Public Lands

UC South Ballroom

Exploring Perspectives on Recreational Drone Use on Public Lands

Parks, Tourism, and Recreation Management

Recreational drone use has increased in popularity and accessibility over the past several years. As of early 2018, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has recorded one million drone registrations with 87% of those being hobbyist registrations (Vanian, 2018). Drones have become more affordable, and, thus, more people are purchasing them for recreation. Often, drone users fly on public lands, but there are many concerns and challenges that go along with recreational drone use including privacy, safety, and impacts to wildlife and resources. For example, in August of 2014, a visitor to Yellowstone National Park flew his drone to gain a better view at the Grand Prismatic Hot Spring, but then crashed the drone into the spring and it was never recovered. Despite these challenges, there has been outstanding footage from drones flown where humans rarely go and drones can offer unique opportunities for visitor engagement on public lands. But, how do we keep our resources protected and address the privacy concerns while still allowing some managed drone use? These different management options need to be explored depending on the area and particular usage. Despite these challenges and opportunities, there has been very limited research on recreational drone use. To address this gap, 16 senior PTRM students conducted a study on recreational drone use around Missoula, MT. Surveys were conducted with the public on their perceptions about recreational drone use, the public lands where drone use can take place, and the types of management actions. The study offers initial findings on public perceptions and can inform local management of drones and inform future research and policies on public lands.