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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've seen a couple of very cool whitewater videos recently posted on YouTube that were shot from aerial drones:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RNJomt6Ipho

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u5wsOCux1vc&index=8&list=LLvuV5rNdgEFwlGHSlLrpu6g

While I think these videos are really cool to watch, I can't help but wonder what the surprised looking people in some of the boats were thinking as they were being buzzed by a drone on a multi-day wilderness trip. I think I would be surprised by the novelty of it now, but as these things start to proliferate and everyone wants to film and post video of their epic lines through Rainey Falls, it's going to get annoying really quickly.

There has already been some discussion of the legality of using drones in wilderness areas over on the "changes to blossom bar" thread, I but thought the drone topic was worthy of it's own thread.

Personally, while I appreciate the videos, I don't think motorized vehicles of any type should be in a wilderness area, which is kind of the point of wilderness areas, right? Then again, I even get annoyed at my rafting buddies using noisy battery powered pumps to inflate their air mattresses on "wilderness" trips, and airplanes fly over wilderness areas all the time.

Thoughts?
 

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I don't think motorized vehicles of any type should be in a wilderness area, which is kind of the point of wilderness areas, right?
Thoughts?
I tend to agree with you, but it's just not how it works. Getting wilderness declared is a tricky political dance of compromise. Look at the Middle Fork: biggest wilderness area in the country and there are how many airstrips? I can think of no fewer than 8 off the top of my head, at least two of which are on Federal land in the wilderness! OK, so allow private inholdings to maintain historic access, but use federal dollars to maintain an airstrip inside a wilderness area? come on.

I guess it's just a matter of degrees. You don't like the noisy motors for air pumps? What if they were quiet? What about the a-holes who don't grease their raft pumps that sound like dying seals every morning?

Most cameras have small motors. How long before the FS tells us we can't take photos in the wilderness?

I guess the line the USFS tries to walk re: motors and machines in the wilderness just kinda pisses me off. It's OK to drag a damn sled up and down the hill at Indian Creek, but NOT a wheel barrow since it has a wheel? Give me a break. I'm pretty sure they had wheel barrows in that area long before it was declared wilderness.

Drones would piss me off. Planes flying in and out of the MFS every day detract from the wilderness feeling for me. Wheel barrows seem pretty primitive and wildernessy to me. Speakers are allowed, so far as I can tell. Cameras allowed. No water pumps, like a Zodi shower.

Anyway, I guess everything is like that. When you start trying to decide what's allowed where, things get muddled. "Share the road" is another one that drives me nuts. We have traffic laws for public safety. Some vehicles aren't allowed on public roads: atvs, dirt bikes (unless they have the required equipment and registration), Segways, etc. Why aren't they allowed? They're a danger to themselves and others. So, how's a road bike much different? They travel at vastly different speeds than highway traffic, and can cause hazardous situations to other drivers, yet somehow they're allowed. Anyway, sorry to digress.

That's my rant.
 

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I would hope people have the common sense to only fly them when no other parties are around.

I have no issues with them though so long as they are used with the proper respect to other folks and groups.

That said, if some total stranger started buzzing my raft at close range in a difficult rapid then I wouldn't think twice about having a passenger swat it down like a fly with a spare paddle.;)
 

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I never believed shotguns had a place in river running. The prospect of encountering aerial drones while floating makes me rethink that position...
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I never believed shotguns had a place in river running. The prospect of encountering aerial drones while floating makes me rethink that position...
Funny video. I don't think the pepper spray I bring along for late night bear encounters on the Rogue would have the same effect on drones.
 

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Drone distance

I never believed shotguns had a place in river running. The prospect of encountering aerial drones while floating makes me rethink that position...
Yep. I think drones are fine, so long as they stay 60 yards or so away from me in a wilderness area. That's about the range for a 12 gauge with buckshot. Non-wilderness is a tougher question.
 

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Since they weren't grandfathered in I would love to see them banned myself.

Unlike the culture and historical use of remote controlled airplanes (RACs) the quadcopter/drone culture has the ability to affect privacy and solitude in the wilderness in an immense manner. When you look back at RACs they were largely used in municipal areas and had relatively short ranges. Now you have a much more advanced piece of equipment that is using video and still photography technology that is rather sophisticated.

I know folks are using these tools for some pretty amazing projects but I also value having places that are off limits to the intrusion they seem to inherently create.

Will be interesting to see where agencies and users land on the issue. Really would hate to see them become as common as stereos that can be heard 1/2-1 mile away while I am on the river.
 

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Cool Video. I want one of those suppressors for my 870.

We were just walking the dogs tonight and one of our neighbors had a drone he was flying around. When he saw us he went in the house till we passed. We were puzzled what that was about.
 

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AHRA and Colorado Parks and Wildlife are in the process of creating regulations prohibiting drones from the Upper Arkansas....and I'm cool with that.
 

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I'm pretty sure this debate will go like most discussions prompted by technology advances.

One minor note; it's still illegal to operate drones capable of operating out of line of sight of the operator per FAA rules. I had done research on the topic at one point, and the FAA basically said that yes, while one can launch an uncontrolled "model" rocket capable of reaching 5,000 feet near any airport, it is illegal to launch a remote controlled aircraft capable of reaching 500'. Anywhere. Like, you know, in the middle of a rancher's field miles from any airport.

Anyway, the overiding point has to be that using drones is like using motors or radios or whatever while on the river. If you invade another's space with your technology you risk their wrath, and ultimately the well meaning but all invasive REGULATION or worse, LAW.

That said, if anyone has drone video of hot springs use, or really any voyeur video on the river, well share that s^*t!
 

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Ice Drones

someone told me the Hualapai tribe is working on a GC drone business plan. You call them on a sat phone, give them your GPS location and a cc number, they fly you up some ice. I heard it from a guide, so it must be true,
 

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I think the concern over intrusion by drones is vastly overstated. They have a maximum fly time of 20 minutes and they do very poorly in winds. Most people would probably be using them to videotape their own group or general scenery, unless you think your worth stalking. On most permitted rivers I rarely see other groups for more that a few minutes each day so the likelyhood of it becoming an actual nuisance is pretty remote.

Let's get back to worrying about Ebola and IS!
 

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Let's get back to worrying about Ebola and IS!
While I think they are fine in some places, if I see one on of the wilderness rivers I float I will likely go all Dronehunter......and yes I will go pick up the pieces and pack it out. And I am not worried about Ebola and IS???? which I assume you mean to indicate the Islamic Radicals.
 

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Yes Carvedog, I meant Islamic State. It is a joke, just like the Dronehunter video. Both of which don't appear to be the risk/threat they are hyped up to be. Glad to hear you will pack it out. Thanks.
 
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