Welcome to the channel, I’m Jay Malone.
Let’s talk about flying drones in National Parks.
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I get questions quite often asking me more details about flying drones in National Parks.
So, I figured I would talk more about that today!
Before we move on, let’s clarify that the National Park Service or NPS is not the same
as the U.S. Forrest Service or USFS.
The NPS is ran by the Department of Interior while the USFS is ran by the Department of Agriculture.
Today we’re talking about the NPS.
I recently had a phone conversation with a National Park Service representative.
So, I wanted to share some of what we talked about!
In fact, he gave me a link to a “hidden” document that you might find interesting,
and I’ll share that in just a bit.
First off, to simplify it, you can’t take off, land, or operate a drone within a National Park.
I know there are some documents that point to the fact that you can obtain a permit to
fly there, but I really don’t know of any individuals that have obtained such permit.
The NPS representative tried to discourage even flying over the park.
His argument was that flying too close to wildlife could still lead to a citation for
But he did acknowledge that there was that loophole that allowed flying over the park
as long as you did not take off, land, or operate from within the park.
Let’s move on to something that is a little bit confusing!
When you are on the NPS.gov website, you will see National Parks, National Monuments, National Trails, National Preserves, etc.
I’ve had people telling me that only the National Parks are off-limits, but that’s not the case.
There are currently 59 National Parks, but there are a total of 417 locations in the
National Park System.
According to the NPS representative that I spoke with, all of these 417 locations are
all off-limits to drones.
Now, there are another 146 locations that are related areas.
These 146 locations do not have the same restrictions on drones that the other 417 do!
This means that some Historical Sites, Riverways, and Trails, are off-limits, while others are not.
This is where the hidden document comes in handy.
Buried in the NPS website is a PDF of all 417 locations as well as the other 146 related areas.
I’ll leave a link to it down in the description below this video.
I’ll also leave a link to the other document that he shared with me!
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