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US park service moves to bar drone operations in 84 million acres of public lands

FILE - This Jan. 20, 2011 file photo shows shadows creeping up on sandstone cliffs glowing red as the sun sets on Zion National Park near Springdale, Utah. The National Park Service is taking steps to ban drones from 84 million acres of public lands and waterways, saying the unmanned aircraft annoy visitors, harass wildlife and threaten safety. Jonathan Jarvis, the park service’s director, told The Associated Press he was signing a policy memorandum on Friday directing superintendents of the service’s 401 parks to write rules prohibiting the launching, landing or operation of unmanned aircraft in their parks. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson, file)

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FILE - This Jan. 20, 2011 file photo shows shadows creeping up on sandstone cliffs glowing red as the sun sets on Zion National Park near Springdale, Utah. The National Park Service is taking steps to ban drones from 84 million acres of public lands and waterways, saying the unmanned aircraft annoy visitors, harass wildlife and threaten safety. Jonathan Jarvis, the park service’s director, told The Associated Press he was signing a policy memorandum on Friday directing superintendents of the service’s 401 parks to write rules prohibiting the launching, landing or operation of unmanned aircraft in their parks. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson, file)

WASHINGTON - The National Park Service is moving to ban drones from 84 million acres (34 million hectares) of public lands and waterways.

Officials say it's because the unmanned aircraft annoy visitors, harass wildlife and threaten safety.

Jonathan Jarvis is the park service director. Jarvis tells The Associated Press he's directing the superintendents of the 401 national parks to write rules barring the launching, landing or operation of unmanned aircraft.

He says he doesn't want drones flushing birds from their nests, hovering over rock climbers as they cling to the sides of cliffs or buzzing across the face of a landmark mountain.

The action is separate from the Federal Aviation Agency's ban on commercial drone flights.

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