With drones becoming increasingly more affordable and subsequently more popular it is important to know that flying unmanned aircraft in National Parks of the United States is prohibited.

Policy Memorandum 14-05, which was handed down by the director of the National Parks Service in June of 2014, has directed the superintendents of the parks to use their lawful authority under 36 CFR 1.5 to prohibit the launching, landing, or operation of unmanned aircraft, subject to the certain conditions and exceptions set forth by said memo. Maximum penalty of the ban is a misdemeanor and a fine of up to $5000.

Authority: 36 CFR 1.5

Definition: The term “unmanned aircraft” means a device that is used or intended to be used for flight in the air without the possibility of direct human intervention from within or on the device, and the associated operational elements and components that are required for the pilot or system operator in command to operate or control the device (such as cameras, sensors, communication links). This term includes all types of devices that meet this definition (e.g., model airplanes, quadcopters, drones) that are used for any purpose, including for recreation or commerce.

Closure Language: Launching, landing, or operating an unmanned aircraft from or on lands and waters administered by the National Park Service within the boundaries of [insert name of park] is prohibited except as approved in writing by the superintendent.”

Check the full memo here.

x