New policy bans drone use in Acadia

ACADIA NATIONAL PARK — A new policy prohibiting the use of drones in all national parks was issued by the director of the national park service late last week.

Jonathan B. Jarvis issued the interim policy from headquarters in Washington D.C. on June 19 due to “the dramatic growth throughout the United States in the numbers and use of unmanned aircraft.”

Jarvis ruled that the with the exception of the existing use of model aircraft in some parks, the use of drones is a new use and that officials need time to develop appropriate management policies.

Already this year there have been several incidents of visitors in Acadia complaining about others using drones including at the top of Cadillac Mountain.

The use of drones for scientific purposes or for law enforcement or search and rescue operations would be allowed with proper permitting. A long list of rules, restrictions and provisions such as proof of insurance must be met before a permit can be issued.

The new policy prohibits the public from launching, operating or landing drones from land or waters under park service control. Flights of drones managed from non-park property would not be affected although most commercially available models have limited range.

Park superintendents were encouraged to use existing laws to prosecute drone operators that cause harm to wildlife, create the “risk of alarm” or a nuisance to other visitors, or cause a hazardous or interfere with other park operations.

Here’s an example of video shot with a drone camera:

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The full text of the director’s decision can be found below.

NPS Drone Use Policy

Earl Brechlin

Editor at Mount Desert Islander
Former Islander editor Earl Brechlin first discovered Mount Desert Island 35 years ago and never left. The author of seven guide and casual history books, he is a Registered Maine Guide and has served as president of the Maine and New England Press Associations. He and his wife live in Bar Harbor.

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