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Tucson: U.S. Forest Service: Reminder drone use prohibited...

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by gringorio, Jun 1, 2016.

  1. gringorio

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    U.S. Forest Service: Reminder drone use prohibited in Sabino and Bear Canyons

    I thought this article was pretty interesting. On the one hand, the USFS says "The use of unmanned aircraft systems or 'drones' is restricted in the Sabino Canyon Recreation area, as well as in Bear Canyon, which is located on the Santa Catalina Ranger District of the Coronado National Forest, according to a recent release from the U.S. Forest Service."

    :eek:

    But then, as the article states, "The launching and recovering of drones and other model aircraft are what is prohibited, as defined by the FAA Circular 91-57A Model Aircraft Operating Standards from Jan. 11, 2016."

    So, no you cannot take off or land within these areas, but you can fly over them. I guess it's basically the same thing as state parks?

    Anyone else from Tucson fly over these areas?
     
    dupin likes this.
  2. SouthernPhantom

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    I know that they're banned in the National Parks, but I thought not from the National Forests.

    Is this on a park-by-park basis? Or has something new happened?
     
  3. sar104

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  4. gringorio

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    Sabino and Bear Canyons are managed by the USFS as Sabino Canyon Recreation Area. I thought the same thing as sar104. Even though the area is managed by the Forest Service maybe recreation areas have different rules?
     
  5. Reed L

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    Just a guess but the rec areas are made up from public, state and private lands and these canyons are really popular and are pay to enter sites like many others. But this is also a highly visited area like most National Parks and I think that this is why they have prohibited UAV's. There's kids running around everywhere and unfortunately our UAV's drop dead from the sky with no notice and little to no noise, making them too dangerous to fly around or above people. The Forest Service runs a lots of these designated rec areas that are made up of different zoning types of combined lands, many of which have basically no laws, including against flying UAV's, it's just in these high traffic populated areas that we find these types of rules on top of the normal. Plus the people paying to get in aren't paying to have UAV's buzzing over their heads when they have all come to enjoy the total silence and contentment of the area. Whether it's fair or legal to enforce in many places is questionable, but here - it is written, so I take it as is.
     
    dirkclod and sar104 like this.
  6. Seawolf

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    Yeah that's always the answer - ban it. Why can we have a system like backcountry hiking permits. The P4 flys for 20min. Allow so many flights a day, so many days a week, vary the allowed areas etc. There is a common sense approach versus ban it all the time. We're suppose to be a free country, yet we regulate it to death.
     
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  7. mikesmiley

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    Quadcopters are soon to be like dirt bikes; very few "public" lands in which it's legal to ride/fly. Enjoy what we have while you can.
     
  8. brettinteriors

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    I'm from tucson, bummer, my buddy and I wanted to shoot the canyon.
     
    #8 brettinteriors, Jun 1, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2016
  9. gringorio

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    I've worked with USFWS and state agencies and can say with confidence they lack the funding (and thus the manpower) to accomplish your suggestion, even though your suggestion makes perfect sense. Many wildlife refuges, for example, lack the funds to provide adequate law enforcement as well as research support for basic needs, let alone new resources to monitor "Drone" activity.
     
    BigAl07 likes this.
  10. WetDog

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    For pretty much the same reason - a few assholes ruin it for the rest of the group.

    This is why we can't have nice things.

    And, again, this is exactly the kind of restrictions a non FAA entity can do - prohibit from taking off and landing. They cannot prevent overflights without a specific FAA created restriction.
     
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  11. tcope

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    The information given out by those areas is 100 percent correct and all the same. Non FAA parties can regulate what happens on the ground that they are in charge of. They can't regulate the airspace above that land. This is why they (correctly) mention take off, landing, and operating from the land. It's legal to fly over national parks and national forests. It's not legal to operate a drone from National Parks and it appears perhaps there are some similar limitation in some national forest areas. Forest areas tend to be less restrictive as they are preventing damage to those areas. Parks want to keep the area enjoyable by everyone.
     
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  12. sar104

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    Agreed, but note that unlike USFS, NPS is asserting authority to prohibit all flights over parks, not just flight operations from within the parks.
     
  13. WetDog

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    I think NPS has a permanent flight restriction for National Parks.

    It's complicated.
     
  14. SouthernPhantom

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    When the NPS banned drones a couple of years ago, it was after several publicized incidents, including the one that dropped into a pristine Yellowstone spring, a herd of young elk being separated from their parents because of a tourist's drone, and too many UAVs flying over the Grand Canyon causing noise and visual obstruction to the other visitors and photographers. They were also concerned about safety over busy campgrounds and roads.

    Even then, they stated that the ban would be temporary until they had time to figure out how to better regulate them.

    Of course, two years later now, as with most bureaucratic issues, it remains in place. But supposedly, there will be some progress soon.

    The Forest Service lands are so diverse that there appears to be no blanket policy in place.
     
  15. sar104

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    I'm not aware of any blanket restriction, and none of the parks that I have looked at show as restricted areas on the sectionals. The agreement that you referenced only applied to air tours, and explicitly excluded general aviation.
     
  16. tcope

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    "The launching and recovering of drones and other model aircraft are what is prohibited, as defined by the FAA Circular 91-57A Model Aircraft Operating Standards from Jan. 11, 2016. "

    upload_2016-6-2_17-37-31.png

    They are not asserting authority and prohibiting flying over parks.
     
  17. sar104

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    You are correct that the current NPS policy document on the subject explicitly does not attempt to ban flying over NPS land if launched from non-Federal land, but individual NPS locations have misunderstood the directive and are asserting authority. I've had that discussion with park management and LE, and they believe, erroneously, that they are following the directive.

    This incorrect interpretation has also been propagated by numerous news organizations - for example:

    National Park Service bans drone use in all national parks
     
  18. tcope

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    That article is 2 years old. In drone years, that is like 50 years. The news company is just not being specific, they are not getting it wrong. Try to fly into a National Park from outside a National Park... you won't get very far. Unless you are in Beachwood, OH.
     
  19. sar104

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    The news article, which was just one example, was perfectly specific:

    While the rules are in effect, drones cannot be launched from, landed in or flown over the land or water overseen by the agency, which manages 84 million acres of land and 4.5 million acres of oceans, lakes and reservoirs.

    The policy document, in contrast, in Required Actions: Conditions and Exceptions (2), is less specific, which has led to some of the confusion:

    The compendium closures required by this Policy Memorandum do not apply to launching, landing, or operating unmanned aircraft from or on non-federally owned lands located within the exterior boundaries of units of the National Park System. However, in accordance with 36 CFR 1.2(a)(3), the compendium closure applies to such activities conducted on waters subject to the jurisdiction of the United States located within the boundaries of the National Park System.

    It excludes launching from non-Federally owned lands within the exterior boundaries of an NPS unit, but it does not, explicitly, state that flights over an NPS unit launched from outside the boudaries are unregulated. I think that the lack of such clarity, in contrast to the equivalent statement from USFS, has led to much of the misunderstanding both by NPS Superintendents and the public.

    As for how far you can get into a park launching from outside - well 3 miles or so with a Phantom.