Drone Information

Are Drones Allowed in National Parks

Are Drones Allowed in National Parks?

Understand regulations before taking flight for a hassle-free adventure!

Can you fly drones in national parks?" - A drone hovering over a lush green national park landscape.

Image Credit: Freepik

As a drone enthusiast, few things excite me more than taking my drone for an adventure to the many natural wonders in The States. Imagine capturing the majestic sweep of the Grand Canyon and many such otherworldly sights. However, this begs the question – can you fly drones in national parks? Are drones allowed in national parks?

The answer to this question, unfortunately, is a bit more nuanced than a simple yes or no. But don’t worry – here I have tried to answer all your flying drones in national parks queries. So, without any further ado, let’s get onto it then.c

Can You Fly Drones in National Parks?

Flying drones in national parks" - A drone soaring above a picturesque national park scenery.

Image Credit: Gemini

This restriction is in place for several important reasons:

So, that’s it? There is no way one can use drones in national parks? Actually, that statement is not true. There are exceptions where you can apply for a drone permit in a national park. You should also note that while there is a blanket ban on drones in National Parks, such is not the case with National Forests and lands under BLM (Bureau of Land Management). They may permit drone flights in their controlled areas.

Penalties for Flying Drones in National Parks

Image Credit: Gemini

Flying a drone in the national park is not just a buzzkill for the visitors – it is also illegal, with severe penalties for the wrongdoers. You can face hefty fines of up to $5000 and even some time behind bars (up to 6 months). Additionally, your drone would be confiscated. 

Exceptional & Special Cases

While the general rule is a hard ‘no’ for drones in National Parks, we have already touched upon the possibility of exceptions. And even if there are limited circumstances, flying a drone in these restricted areas is certainly possible.

Image Credit: Gemini

Here are some special cases where you can apply for a drone permit:

Scientific Research

If your drone use is related to scientific research, you may be granted permission to use drones in national parks. These drones can be used to monitor wildlife, track vegetation changes, or conduct other scientific studies within park boundaries.

Search & Rescue

Emergency services are permitted to utilize drones as per their needs. These drones can be an invaluable tool for search and rescue operations, helping locate lost or injured individuals.

Resource Management

Park management can utilize drones for tasks like surveying erosion damage, mapping trail systems, or assessing potential hazards.

Other Special Use Permits

Finally, the NPS (National Park Service) may consider unique circumstances on a case-by-case basis and issue special use permits for drone operations. However, do note that your operation should be unlikely to cause a significant impact on wildlife.

Final Words

The restrictions on drone use in national parks are certainly disappointing. However, don’t let this dampen your enthusiasm for drone flight! And there are still National Parks and areas under the Bureau of Land Management for you to take your flight in! There are many other amazing wonders out there, just waiting for you! Learn more about Drone Regulations in the National Parks here.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)

Sadly, you cannot fly a drone in Yellowstone National Park. The NPS has a strict policy prohibiting the use of drones within its boundaries. This policy protects the park’s wildlife and soundscapes and maintains an environment for visitors to enjoy the park’s natural wonders.

No. As is the case with other National Parks, the Grand Canyon prohibits any kind of recreational drone use. However, do note that certain (but limited) exceptions can be made for approved scientific research or park management. You can file your application for a drone permit if such is the case for your use.

Unfortunately, no. Yosemite National Park has a blanket ban on drone use except in rare instances when specific permits are obtained for research or other essential park management purposes.

No, you can’t. Mount Rushmore is a national memorial, which means it falls under the regulations of the National Park Service. Therefore, you are prohibited from flying drones here unless you have obtained permission from the authorized body.

Why trust Brownspace?

At Brownspace, we write about what matters most to the audience. We do well-researched work to provide in-depth knowledge of drones. Additionally, we interview people using drones to ensure the credibility of the drones used and offer real-life user experience to our readers. 

Share on...

Bwown Space Author

Hi, drone enthusiasts! Born with a natural curiosity for the skies, I developed a love for drones early in life. I began flying drones in 2017 and have since piloted some of the best drones available, such as the Yuneec Typhoon, DJI Mini, Mavic Pro, Hover Camera, and Phantom 3. With passion for drones and expertise gained over the years, I would love to share my knowledge of drones at Brownspace. Stay tuned for an insider’s perspective about drones. 

Leave a Comment

The views and opinions expressed on this website are our own and are based on our experiences. This website contains affiliate links. We only recommend products that we genuinely believe will add value to our audience. The decision to buy the product entirely depends on you.


Follow us on...