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Thread: Upper Mesa Falls Recreation Area

  1. #1

    Upper Mesa Falls Recreation Area

    Here's a quick fly away from Upper Mesa Falls near Ashton Idaho, more video and photos on the way. I was hoping the sun would be out for a good rainbow shot, but no such luck.

    There's a funny story about this clip and location in general. At 6 seconds in, you can see the Park Ranger heading down the stairs to come talk to me about the "No Drones" Policy in the park, or at least that's what she thought. Prior to driving here, I had planned on flying my drone here and getting some cool shots. Well, once we entered the park, I realized it was a "Recreation Area", and I thought, ah man, I can't fly my drone in here. So we are checking out the falls from the main platforms, and we are ready to head out, and my brother in law comes over to me and says "Hey you can fly your drone in here, I just asked", as he handed me this drone policy sheet they were handing out from the front desk. I was surprised to hear that so I decided to double check for myself, and sure enough they said drones aren't banned there. I found no reason to wait around for a contradiction to what we had just heard, so I ran and grabbed my drone, launched, and got some various great looking shots.

    The ranger, however, had a different opinion of the regulations. Fortunately she caught up to me at the end of my flight, with 20 minutes of footage already shot, so I was happy to land and talk to her. Funny enough, my tablet recorded most of the conversation. Basically she was citing different regulations saying I can't fly over populated areas, and I explained I was only over the river and not any people. Then the thing about disturbing wildlife and the serenity of the environment, which didn't really hold because the thundering waterfall drowned out any drone noise and most conversation. In fact it may have sounded like we were yelling at each other because of the waterfall noise. But in the end I think we ended on good terms, I grabbed her email address and I've reached out to her already. I'm offering a copy of the footage I shot, I think it wouldn't look terrible there at the office after all. I committed to her that if the official rule is "No Drones", then I made some suggestions to make that more clear in the signage, and the literature distributed, and I would make an effort to inform the drone community.

    And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how I got some exclusive footage of Mesa Falls. There have been shots before me, but I may be one of the last.

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  3. #2
    Very nice! Mesa Falls has many fond memories for me.

  4. Likes Sombeech liked this post
  5. #3
    Sweet! Post up footage of the conversation!

  6. Likes Sombeech liked this post
  7. #4

  8. #5
    Fantastic! So this may be it for drone footage? Is she the Queen of the Falls? Seems to me that the printed literature would be the end all be all.
    The future's uncertain and the end is always near.

  9. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by twotimer View Post
    Fantastic! So this may be it for drone footage? Is she the Queen of the Falls? Seems to me that the printed literature would be the end all be all.
    Thanks, the jury is still out on this one. I think they'll come up with a permit system like Dead Horse Point. I've reached out via email and offered to pass along any rules they've decided on.

  10. #7
    Ok so here's a portion of the chat between the ranger, my brother in law and I. This just happened to record from my tablet and then it stopped when I landed the drone.

    With due respect to the ranger, she was doing her job and the park needs to come together on what the rules are and how to enforce them.

    It sounds like we are yelling but only to talk above the roar of the waterfalls. We ended with a handshake, trading email info and an offer to share the beautiful shots of the waterfall.

    The points mentioned were the rules about flying over people, which I believe I'm ok because I was out over the river, not over people. The part about disturbing wildlife would apply anywhere, not only in parks. But my firm opinion is that because of the noise of the falls, and being in the air, no wildlife were aware of the drone. The people visiting had much more of an impact than my drone.

    Here's the bulk of the chat. To be honest, we kept hearing a noise and I couldn't tell what it was, we finally realized it was the ranger trying to get our attention.

  11. #8
    Lol. We need to see your license bro.

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