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Drones in State Parks (illegal? yes or no)

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by mikeisi, Aug 8, 2015.

  1. mikeisi

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    I film a ton in Tennessee State Parks (mostly of waterfalls and overlooks). I had someone leave me a comment on one of my videos of Burgess Falls telling me they're illegal in state parks. Here is a short conversation. What do yall think? (If you want to see my vids, check out youtube.com/mikeisi)

    "Allen Fenoseff
    3 days ago
    Just a reminder that the use of drones on state parks is illegal

    [​IMG]
    mikeisi
    3 days ago
    +Allen Fenoseff I don't believe it currently is. I've not (as of yet) seen anything officially documenting it is illegal in Tennessee 'state' parks. There is a national ban on them within National Parks however.

    [​IMG]
    Allen Fenoseff
    3 days ago
    +mikeisi Drones fall under the same policy as aircraft and are prohibited on all Tennessee State Parks according to the Director of State Parks in Tennessee. The policy has filtered down to staff and we inform the public when we see drones. I manage Dunbar Cave State Natural Area and Port Royal State Historic Area in Clarksville Tn. Just giving you a heads up. We , park rangers, would much rather inform people of the rules so they can have a better time on the parks instead of having to haul equipment in and then haul it out and waste your time. I hope this was helpful and saves you time and money. Thanks for visiting our parks. P.S. loved the footage, awesome."
     
  2. SteveMann

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    First the law:
    49 USC § 40103 - Sovereignty and use of airspace
    (a)Sovereignty and Public Right of Transit.—
    (1)
    The United States Government has exclusive sovereignty of airspace of the United States.

    No other entity may regulate flight. Nor may they create a "no-fly" zone. They may make rules where you may take off and land within their jurisdiction. The National Park Service does just that by prohibiting takeoffs, landings and operations from park property. (An operation is what the FAA calls a takeoff or landing).

    So, you will have to check with the park ranger and ask "where may I fly my model airplane in the park". If you say "drone" they go into a panicked administrative retreat.
     
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  3. TAZ

    TAZ

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    What Steve said +1.

    It's the activity of takeoff-landing while physically within their boundaries that they can regulate. If you are physically located outside the park....and do not take off and land within the park...they can't really do much about you flying over it. In most situations, it'd be difficult to be outside the park boundaries, and keep LOS though.
     
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  4. GoodnNuff

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    And flying from outside the park in BLOS could land you in trouble. Or if the park wants to really get you, they can say that you endangered other visitors or tourists/visitors with your flight, regardless of where you launched from.

    I would contact your State Parks department yourself to find out the law. Following the advice of some who advocate that there are no rules, could potentially cost you.
     
  5. envisionabove

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    No national parks around? CA no state parks not even at the desert and ours is big. Anza borrego state park. You can jeep you can motorcycle and drive quads, but can't fly them they mite disturb others. :rolleyes:

    What Steve said above...:)
     
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  6. PeteyGoesToUtah

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    I flew mine in Goblin Valley State Park here in Utah late last year, and the Ranger was cool with...as long as I kept it away from visitors.
     
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  7. tcope

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    Yup, I've heard that about Goblin. But think of all the people drones have killed maimed and injured there. Think about all of the issues and news coverage from drones flying at Goblin. Oh wait....
     
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  8. GoodnNuff

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    But there are those brave souls who tackle and topple dangerous hoodoos to protect the other park visitors...lol.
     
  9. PeteyGoesToUtah

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    Lmao, exactly
     
  10. IflyinWY

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    I flew in Hot Springs State Park, in Wyoming... WITH the Ranger's blessing... :D
     
  11. shipdriver

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    I check the park rules wherever I go, although if the rules are vague or hidden off in some miscellaneous section, I haven't always found it before flying. It is the wrong question though to ask whether drones are legal in state parks because it is up to the individual state. Here in Washington, RC aircraft are only allowed on State Park property in areas designated for RC aircraft (of which I do not know any). The rule was written long before quadcopter type drones and is based more on the tendency of model airplanes to crash frequently. I did have a park ranger tell me to bring my copter down at Fort Casey State Park, which I did. I asked for the reference and he gave me the regulation about aircraft, which on further inspection doesn't actually apply to RC aircraft (the section about RC designated areas is in another part), so there is some confusion on their part. He was polite about it all and it was not a negative interaction. Ironically para-gliders are OK with prior permission- go figure!
    Luckily, non-Park state areas like Fish and Wildlife lands are OK. The county parks where I live are off-limits as well, as are Seattle City parks, so I'm pretty much limited to Fish and Wildlife and National Forest (or other non-National Park federal) lands.
     
  12. Goldni

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    I'm going to two waterfalls located near Monteagle TN this Saturday. Got a backpack coming in from Amazon Prime just for the trip. I'm planning on getting airborne for some footage. I've seen nothing from their websites about my choice of photography equipment.
     
  13. mikeisi

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    Which waterfalls? I've filmed a few near there.
     
  14. Goldni

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    Foster Falls off of 41 south of Tracy City. Lack of rain in the area made for a paltry waterfall though
     
  15. Goldni

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    Any good areas I may not know about?
     
  16. SouthernPhantom

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    All national parks and the lands they administer are out for now. In national forests, it depends which one. There doesn't seem to be a blanket ban. Though I've noticed that most ski areas, which are in national forests, prohibit them during their operating seasons. Each state and each park are different. In Georgia, Stone Mountain State Park says no, but most of the others have no restrictions. It's worth calling their administrative or PR offices to ask.
     
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  17. Goldni

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    Yeah Foster Falls is on TVA Recreational land. There's nothing on their site afa rules and regulations on UAV's. They seem to most care about swimming and drinking.
     
  18. Othan1

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    It's FEDERAL parks you need to avoid. State parks vary and are only limited by take off and landing in said areas. However, be a respectful drone pilot and don't fight if an official for the park asks you to leave.
     
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  19. TAZ

    TAZ

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    Kinda correct. More specifically it isn't the "federal" that is the issue, it's the lands governed by the National Park Service. I know I'm being pedantic, but I'm confident by your comment you were trying to be helpful. However if one was to google "Federal parks"...they wouldn't come up with a designator. Additionally, some lands governed by the NPS are monuments, parkways, etc...not parks...some land federally governed don't have the restrictions (BLM Lands and Parks, National Forests and National Recreation Areas--some governed by the NPS, others by USFS...so regulations may vary) also aren't similarly restricted.

    So to be completely pedantic, but correct for reference sake... It is lands administered by the National Park Service that need to 100% be avoided for takeoffs and landings. One can use Wikipedia to determine parks administered by the NPS to the limits of its accuracy: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_areas_in_the_United_States_National_Park_System. Local State and City park laws equally need to be explored as their regulations will vary.

    It can be ridiculously difficult to navigate the existing laws...but correct terminology helps if someone is doing their own research.
     
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  20. Othan1

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    Thank you for your additional information. Words matter.
     
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