Popular Travel Bloggers Kara and Nate Fined $1,000 for Filming in National Parks, Warned by FAA for Flying Drone

Popular YouTube travel bloggers Kara and Nate, who run a commercial YouTube channel with over 1.93 million subscribers said this week they received a $1,000 fine from the National Parks Service for filming their blog without a permit and issued a warning from the FAA for using their drone.   The couple typically travels the world and reports on their expeditions, but since the COVID-19 pandemic, they decided to buy a tricked out sleeper van and travel the country.

Their latest video, “Why we don’t visit national parks” has been viewed 330,000 in the first 24 hours since being published.

According to Nate Buchanan, somebody reported their videos to the National Parks Service and the FAA.  Their plan was to travel the country and visit the national park system and produce travel blogs about their findings and exploits.  The pair doesn’t use any high tech camera and is always considerate of nature and environmental sensitivity.  They travel alone with handheld cameras, but as Nate Buchanan admitted, they are a for-profit vlog and under the law, realized now, they do need to get a commercial filming permit to film in the national parks, but there’s more to it.

Although National Parks became national parks by people visiting them and sharing drawings, paintings and eventually photos of their natural beauty, today, a permit is required by any commercial entity that wishes to film in one.

According to the NPS,  “Commercial filming” means the film, electronic, magnetic, digital, or other recordings of a moving image by a person, business, or other entity for a market audience with the intent of generating income.

The couple also uses a drone to capture aerial footage of the locations they visit.  According to the FAA, they will now need a commercial drone pilot license.  Buchanan said he intends to start studying for the license, but for now they will skip the national parks because of the bureaucratic red tape and lengthy approval process involved in obtaining a filming permit.

They will also produce their upcoming vlogs without drones, until Nate gets his pilot license.

Editorial disclosure: We’re all K/N fans here.