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FAA restricts drone usage over some US landmarks

The Federal Aviation Administration says drones can't fly within 400 feet of the boundaries of the Statue of Liberty, Mount Rushmore and other sites.

Don't get too close, the FAA warns.

Kena Betancur/Getty Images

If you were planning to use a drone to get a bird's-eye view of the Statue of Liberty on your next visit, the Federal Aviation Administration is warning you to think again.

The same goes for Mount Rushmore and a handful of other Interior Department sites after the FAA issued a directive Thursday that prohibits flights of unmanned aerial vehicles within 400 feet of monument boundaries. The FAA said it took the action at the request of the US national security and law enforcement agencies.

"This is the first time the agency has placed airspace restrictions for unmanned aircraft, or 'drones,' over [Interior Department] landmarks," the FAA said in a statement. "Operators who violate the airspace restrictions may be subject to enforcement action, including potential civil penalties and criminal charges."

The move comes more than three years after the National Park Service issued a temporary policy memorandum prohibiting the operation of drones within park boundaries, except with the park superintendent's written permission. That policy is still in effect at most parks, the NPS says.

The FAA has created an interactive map to inform the public of its flight restrictions, including previous prohibitions against flying over military bases and airports.

The new restrictions kick in Oct. 5. Here are the 10 Interior Department sites covered by the new restrictions:

Statue of Liberty National Monument, New York

Boston National Historical Park (U.S.S. Constitution), Boston

Independence National Historical Park, Philadelphia

Folsom Dam; Folsom, California

Glen Canyon Dam; Lake Powell, Arizona

Grand Coulee Dam; Grand Coulee, Washington

Hoover Dam; Boulder City, Nevada

Jefferson National Expansion Memorial; St. Louis

Mount Rushmore National Memorial; Keystone, South Dakota

Shasta Dam; Shasta Lake, California 

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