Recreational Drone Flying

MDC drone and controller

Drone pilots need a special use permit to launch, land, or operate a drone, or unmanned aerial system (UAS), at an MDC conservation area. Drone operators must follow all FAA rules and regulations. Areas such as nature centers and staffed shooting ranges with routine, heavy public use are not appropriate locations for recreational drone use.


Guidelines for Recreational Drone Flying on MDC Areas

Know Before You Go

Launching, landing, or operating a UAS from a conservation area requires a special use permit.

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Special Use Permit

If you need a special use permit, get more details and apply.


Recreate Responsibly Around Wildlife

  • Do not operate your UAS in a manner that harasses wildlife or other area users.
  • Drones may not be used to pursue, take, attempt to take, drive, or molest wildlife.
  • Do not fly over or near wildlife as this can create stress that may cause significant harm and even death.
  • Drones may not be used to track wounded wildlife.

Fly Safely and Stay in Control

  • Keep your UAS within your visual line of sight at all times.
  • Take lessons and learn to operate your UAS safely.
  • Remain well clear of and do not interfere with manned aircraft operations.
  • Keep your drone away from populated and noise-sensitive areas, such as campgrounds and trailheads.
  • Adhere to FAA rules for recreational flyers.

Adapted from the U.S. Forest Service's Recreational Drone Tips.

Aerial Photos Taken by Drone Over MDC Areas


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