Parks Service bans drones over Appalachian Trail

Hikers ascend Mt. Buckley along the Appalachian Trail in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The trail, which runs 2,175 miles from Georgia to Maine, is part of the National Park Service but relies on volunteers to maintain it. (AP Photo/National Park Service)
Hikers ascend Mt. Buckley along the Appalachian Trail in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The trail, which runs 2,175 miles from Georgia to Maine, is part of the National Park Service but relies on volunteers to maintain it. (AP Photo/National Park Service)

PITTSBURGH (AP) — The National Park Service has banned drones from flying over the Appalachian Trail.

The Park Service said Wednesday the interim rule prohibits launching, landing or operating unmanned aircraft from or on Appalachian National Scenic Trail lands.

The ban takes effect immediately and lasts until the Park Service can develop an appropriate policy. The Park Service says drones could affect resources and visitors in ways it has yet to analyze so more study is needed.

The Appalachian Trail goes through parts of Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia.

In June the Park Service directed all parks to take steps to prohibit the use of the increasingly popular aircraft, which are often used to take photos and videos.

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