Oregon Man Fined for Flying Drone, Buzzing Bison in Yellowstone 

"When we look at unmanned aircraft, they present a variety of hazards and challenges in an environment where you have many wild animals, unique landscapes and millions of visitors."

An Oregon man has been fined $1,000 for violating a ban on drones at U.S. parks by flying an unmanned aircraft in Yellowstone, where it buzzed bison and startled tourists gathered at a popular geyser basin, a park spokesman said Friday.

Donald Criswell of Molalla, Oregon, sought to capture video of wildlife and scenic views by launching a camera-equipped drone at Yellowstone in August amid a spate of such incidents that occurred at the park at the height of the summer tourist season, said spokesman Al Nash.

Criswell pleaded guilty in a federal court in Wyoming on Thursday in the third prosecution in as many weeks of visitors who used the devices despite signs warning of the prohibition.

A Dutch tourist last month pleaded guilty to the violation and was ordered to pay penalties of more than $3,000 for crashing a drone into Yellowstone's largest and arguably most famous hot spring in August.

Rangers have been unable to locate the wrecked aircraft but suspect it sank to the floor of the 121-foot-deep geologic feature called Grand Prismatic Spring.

Also last month, a visitor from Germany was banned from the park for a year and sentenced to a year of unsupervised probation after admitting to flying a drone in July that crashed into Yellowstone Lake.

Nash said he was hopeful the cases will raise awareness of the ban for tourists who flock to a park that spans parts of Wyoming, Montana and Idaho.

"When we look at unmanned aircraft, they present a variety of hazards and challenges in an environment where you have many wild animals, unique landscapes and millions of visitors," he said.

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