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Clarification on US State and Federal land laws

DMK

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#1
Hi folks, I was directed here by one of my local Facebook groups up here in Seattle. Would you be able to set me straight on a few items? These are the US laws as I currently understand them:

1) General state or federal lands: no restriction on launch, landing, or overflight.

2) State or national parks, or national monuments: No launch or landing, but overflight OK

3) Federal wilderness areas: No launch or landing. 2000ft minimum flight altitude, which is out of the realm of recreational UAV use, but would not necessarily exclude an approved commercial flight from outside the boundary.

4) TFR areas: As far as I know, these are the only areas where both launch/landing AND overflight are absolutely restricted. Is this because the TFR is set by the FAA while the other rules are made by the department of the interior (including FS, BLM, and state agencies)?

Am I interpreting all this correctly?
 

AMann

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#4
http://tfmlearning.faa.gov/publications/atpubs/AIM/Chap7/aim0704.html

7-4-6. Flights Over Charted U.S. Wildlife Refuges, Parks, and Forest Service Areas
a. The landing of aircraft is prohibited on lands or waters administered by the National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, or U.S. Forest Service without authorization from the respective agency. Exceptions include:
1. When forced to land due to an emergency beyond the control of the operator;
2. At officially designated landing sites; or
3. An approved official business of the Federal Government.
b. Pilots are requested to maintain a minimum altitude of 2,000 feet above the surface of the following: National Parks, Monuments, Seashores, Lakeshores, Recreation Areas and Scenic Riverways administered by the National Park Service, National Wildlife Refuges, Big Game Refuges, Game Ranges and Wildlife Ranges administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Wilderness and Primitive areas administered by the U.S. Forest Service.
NOTE-
FAA Advisory Circular AC 91-36, Visual Flight Rules (VFR) Flight Near Noise-Sensitive Areas, defines the surface of a national park area (including parks, forests, primitive areas, wilderness areas, recreational areas, national seashores, national monuments, national lakeshores, and national wildlife refuge and range areas) as: the highest terrain within 2,000 feet laterally of the route of flight, or the upper-most rim of a canyon or valley.
c. Federal statutes prohibit certain types of flight activity and/or provide altitude restrictions over designated U.S. Wildlife Refuges, Parks, and Forest Service Areas. These designated areas, for example: Boundary Waters Canoe Wilderness Areas, Minnesota; Haleakala National Park, Hawaii; Yosemite National Park, California; and Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona, are charted on Sectional Charts.
d. Federal regulations also prohibit airdrops by parachute or other means of persons, cargo, or objects from aircraft on lands administered by the three agencies without authorization from the respective agency. Exceptions include:
1. Emergencies involving the safety of human life; or
2. Threat of serious property loss.
 
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DMK

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#5
Thanks a ton for digging this up.

I notice in the following:
Pilots are requested to maintain a minimum altitude of 2,000 feet above the surface of the following: National Parks, Monuments, Seashores, Lakeshores, Recreation Areas and Scenic Riverways administered by the National Park Service, National Wildlife Refuges, Big Game Refuges, Game Ranges and Wildlife Ranges administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Wilderness and Primitive areas administered by the U.S.

it says "Pilots are requested". Does that mean the 2000ft minimum is a hard law? Like if I fly at 300 feet over a national park, monument, or wilderness area and launch/recover from outside the boundary, can I technically get in trouble?
 

DMK

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#6
I also notice it says:

"The landing of aircraft is prohibited on lands or waters administered by the National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, or U.S. Forest Service without authorization from the respective agency "

The way that's written makes it seem like you can't land a drone on any forest service land at all. That doesn't seem right, does it?
 

sar104

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#7
http://tfmlearning.faa.gov/publications/atpubs/AIM/Chap7/aim0704.html

7-4-6. Flights Over Charted U.S. Wildlife Refuges, Parks, and Forest Service Areas
a. The landing of aircraft is prohibited on lands or waters administered by the National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, or U.S. Forest Service without authorization from the respective agency. Exceptions include:
1. When forced to land due to an emergency beyond the control of the operator;
2. At officially designated landing sites; or
3. An approved official business of the Federal Government.
b. Pilots are requested to maintain a minimum altitude of 2,000 feet above the surface of the following: National Parks, Monuments, Seashores, Lakeshores, Recreation Areas and Scenic Riverways administered by the National Park Service, National Wildlife Refuges, Big Game Refuges, Game Ranges and Wildlife Ranges administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Wilderness and Primitive areas administered by the U.S. Forest Service.
NOTE-
FAA Advisory Circular AC 91-36, Visual Flight Rules (VFR) Flight Near Noise-Sensitive Areas, defines the surface of a national park area (including parks, forests, primitive areas, wilderness areas, recreational areas, national seashores, national monuments, national lakeshores, and national wildlife refuge and range areas) as: the highest terrain within 2,000 feet laterally of the route of flight, or the upper-most rim of a canyon or valley.
c. Federal statutes prohibit certain types of flight activity and/or provide altitude restrictions over designated U.S. Wildlife Refuges, Parks, and Forest Service Areas. These designated areas, for example: Boundary Waters Canoe Wilderness Areas, Minnesota; Haleakala National Park, Hawaii; Yosemite National Park, California; and Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona, are charted on Sectional Charts.
d. Federal regulations also prohibit airdrops by parachute or other means of persons, cargo, or objects from aircraft on lands administered by the three agencies without authorization from the respective agency. Exceptions include:
1. Emergencies involving the safety of human life; or
2. Threat of serious property loss.
Note that none of that is law - AIM is just guidance. And on this subject it is a mixture of enforced agency regulation, such as the prohibition on landing on NPS land, with unenforced and unreferenced regulation, such as the prohibition on landing on USFS non-wilderness land. That is explicitly not the published USFS position.

And, even here, the 2000 ft AGL is not stated as regulatory.
 

sar104

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#8
I also notice it says:

"The landing of aircraft is prohibited on lands or waters administered by the National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, or U.S. Forest Service without authorization from the respective agency "

The way that's written makes it seem like you can't land a drone on any forest service land at all. That doesn't seem right, does it?
Yes - that's not correct.

Tips for Responsible Hobby or Recreational Use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) or "Drones" on National Forest Systems Lands | US Forest Service
 
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brett8883

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#9
Thanks a ton for digging this up.

I notice in the following:
Pilots are requested to maintain a minimum altitude of 2,000 feet above the surface of the following: National Parks, Monuments, Seashores, Lakeshores, Recreation Areas and Scenic Riverways administered by the National Park Service, National Wildlife Refuges, Big Game Refuges, Game Ranges and Wildlife Ranges administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Wilderness and Primitive areas administered by the U.S.

it says "Pilots are requested". Does that mean the 2000ft minimum is a hard law? Like if I fly at 300 feet over a national park, monument, or wilderness area and launch/recover from outside the boundary, can I technically get in trouble?
No it basically means it’s one step up from voluntary.
 
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brett8883

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#10
Hey @sar104 remember for recreational pilots 336 acts as “authorization” so no additional auth needed to land in on NFS land if flying for recreation. Maybe the OP could clarify which rules he intends to fly under? @DMK are you flying for fun or for a job?

I know we had another thread about this specifically if you remember.
 
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DMK

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#13
So the reason I bring all this up is that I was questioning someone's company policy on drone use over their land. I'll recap a conversation I'm having with the GM of Tmberline lodge and ski area on My Hood. You guy's are going to like this. Here's their official policy, cut-and-pasted from their website:

Drone Policy

Out of safety concerns for guests, employees, and resort property, as well as concerns for individual privacy, Timberline Lodge prohibits the operation or use of unmanned aerial systems, or drones, by the general public – including recreational users and hobbyists. This prohibition includes drones used for filming or videotaping, as well as any drone use by media or journalists operating above or within Timberline boundaries. This prohibition on drone operations or use extends to any drones launched or operated from Resort property, as well as drones launched from private property outside of the Resort boundaries. Any violation of this policy may involve suspension of your skiing or snowboarding privileges, or the revocation of your season pass, as well as confiscation of any drone equipment, and may subject violators to any damages, including, but not limited to, damages for violations of privacy and/or physical or personal injuries or property damage, as well as regulatory fines and legal fees.

And here's my email to them. I was a bit of a ****, but that's just my MO:

Hi there,

I just wanted to reach out to you about something I found on your website regarding drone policy. There's a paragraph at the bottom of the rules page that's pretty clearly anti-drone. That's all fine and dandy, but I feel the need to point out some areas of concern, particularly with regard to your apparent gross misunderstanding of drones and the extent of your authority to control them.

1) "This prohibition includes drones used for filming or videotaping, as well as any drone use by media or journalists operating above or within Timberline boundaries."

This sentence would suggest that you have the authority to disallow UAV operation above your property, which you do not. General airspace is open to the public, and can not be categorized as private property.

2) "This prohibition on drone operations or use extends to any drones launched or operated from Resort property, as well as drones launched from private property outside of the Resort boundaries"

Again, you can prohibit launch and landing from your property, but you do not have the legal authority to disallow launch and landing from outside your boundary. Not even the National Park service can outlaw flight over a park or national monument when the craft departs from outside the boundary. And a private property owner certainly does not have that authority.

3) "Any violation of this policy may involve suspension of your skiing or snowboarding privileges, or the revocation of your season pass, as well as confiscation of any drone equipment..."

You are fully within your rights to deny anyone from your services, but you do not have any legal authority to "confiscate" someone else's personal property. This statement makes you look ridiculous and out of touch with reality.

4) "...and may subject violators to any damages, including, but not limited to, damages for violations of privacy"

First of all, what universe do you live in where a camera drone is a violation of privacy? Are you aware that cameras already exist everywhere, and that you do not need a flying machine to take pictures of strangers? Secondly, what exactly do you think these drones are capable of? These are not Obama dronestrike military aircraft, these are mini action cameras on a moving platform. The phone you have in your pocket right now has at least twice the zoom and spying capability as any commercially available drone has. And finally, what exactly are "damages for violations of privacy"? Can you even explain that?

Personally, my own fleet of mountain-flying quadcopters are moving along at 40-80mph. At that speed, I couldn't give a flying whoop about you or your gaper family down below, and not even with 4k resolution can I tell your face from your ***. Even if someone did care enough to film one of your guests without permission, and even if they had a stable quadcopter platform with zoom capabilities, they'd be much better off just leaning casually against a tree and zooming in with their cell phone. So why the **** are you so fixated on flying machines??

5) "...and/or physical or personal injuries or property damage, as well as regulatory fines and legal fees."

I don't know how to break this to you, but there are already laws in place that protect individuals from personal and/or property damage. And while it's obvious that the possibility of injury or property damage exists with drones, there are already rules in place that prohibit pilots from operating UAVs above or within 500 feet of non-participating bystanders, moving vehicles, and within certain areas surrounding inhabited buildings.

You really need to revisit this policy of yours, because in light of the facts it makes you look uninformed at best, and criminal at worst. You do not have the authority to treat people in the ways that this policy seems to promise. Stealing others personal property, making claims to nonsense "damages", and claiming to have the authority to control what others do in public airspace while standing on property that doesn't belong to you? Absolutely inexcusable hysteria-based behavior.

I hope you please forward this message to the appropriate policy-making body. Thanks for your time.

Sincerely,

XXXXXXXX

_____________________________________________________________
And here's their reply:

XXXXX, Timberline lodge and its environs are all Federal Property, and the business operates under a Special Use Permit from the US Forest Service. It appears that you may need to brush up on the guidelines in regards to drone use on Federal Land and Federal Wilderness.


Steve
_________________________________________________________________

Drone use is allowed on and above federal land without restriction.

Drone use over a federal wilderness area or national park is also allowed, assuming launch and landing are not conducted within the boundary.

It appears you don't know what the **** you're talking about, Steve.
___________________________________________________________________

3.0 Recreational Use of UAS on National Forest System (NFS) Lands

Recreational or Hobby UAS

Recreational or hobby UAS use is flying for enjoyment and not for work, business purposes, or for compensation or hire. A special use authorization is not required for noncommercial recreational activities or noncommercial activities involving expression of views (36 CFR 251.50). Members of the public may fly UAS for hobby or recreation in many places on NFS lands. However, there are areas on NFS lands where UAS can’t be flown as mandated by Federal law and in accordance with FAA guidelines. By law, the areas where UAS can’t be operated from include wilderness areas and areas with temporary flight restrictions (TFRs) in place, such as wildfires. The areas where they should not be flown in accordance with FAA safety and Forest Service applicable Federal agency guidelines include:

Developed sites to include campgrounds, and trailheads, marinas, resorts and ski areas

Forest Service helibases, airtanker bases, and other aircraft facilities including backcountry airstrips

Areas where aircraft are performing wildfire suppression or other natural resource management missions, such as aerial surveys for forest health protection

Flights over or near wildlife including sensitive, threatened and endangered species. This can create stress that may cause significant harm and even death

Areas closed to any and all entry under (36 CFR 261.53 – Special Closures)



Recreational use of UAS in Wilderness

1. Prohibited.

2. UAS are considered to be aircraft according to the FAA and both “motorized equipment” and “mechanical transport” under Section 4(c) of the Wilderness Act. As such they cannot take off from, land in, or be operated from congressionally designated Wilderness Areas.

20

Reference (The Wilderness Act P.L. 88-577), (36 CFR 261), (36 CFR 293) and (FSM 2320 – Wilderness management) for further policy guidance specific to designated wilderness on NFS lands. Below are specific policy excerpts covering UAS operations in the wilderness.

Forest Service Manual (FSM) 2326.03:

Discourage flights over wilderness within 2000 feet of the ground surface, except in emergencies or for essential military missions. (The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has agreed to and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has posted, for the FAA, a 2,000 foot over terrain flight advisory on appropriate aeronautical charts. Specific legislative provisions regarding overflight pertain to certain wildernesses.) Cooperate with the FAA, NOAA, military authorities, and with local pilots to promote compliance with the 2,000 foot limit, to keep aeronautical charts current, and to reduce low level flight.

The Wilderness Act (P.L. 88-577):

In summary, wilderness areas must be administered to provide for the preservation of their wilderness character, including undeveloped qualities and opportunities for solitude or a primitive and unconfined type of recreation. Section 2 (a) of the Wilderness Act identifies a National Wilderness Preservation System policy “to assure that increasing population, accompanied by expanding settlement and growing mechanization does not occupy and modify all areas.” Section 4 (c) of the Wilderness Act provides, with exceptions, that “there shall be...no use of motor vehicles, motorized equipment or motorboats, no landing of aircraft, no other form of mechanical transport, and no structure or installation within any such area.”





E. Rules of Use



Within the permit area, Timberline and its representatives are authorized to discourage and report to appropriate authorities:



1) incidents of offensive or derisive communications directed at any other person who is lawfully present when that communication has a direct tendency to cause acts of violence by the person to whom the remark is addressed; and

2) communication or actions directed toward inciting imminent lawless action and likely to incite such action.



Timberline may enforce rules of use, including a rule of use that prohibits the foregoing conduct, within the permit area and may remove persons who violate the rules of use. Timberline may use private security services or security guards and/or off-duty state or local law enforcement personnel to enforce the rules of use. Timberline may also call upon state or local law enforcement agencies to enforce violations of state or local law and Forest Service law enforcement officers to enforce violations of federal law.



The terms “skiing” and “skier” will also refer to “snowboarding” and “snowboarders” and to any other users of Timberline.



Timberline management may remove, trespass person(s) from the permit area for the following acts/behaviors:

§ violations of state/federal/local laws or regulations;

§ threats of violence or communications or actions likely to incite imminent violence or other imminent lawless behavior in others;

§ use of lifts, runs, terrain parks, and/or half pipes without a valid lift ticket or pass;

§ unauthorized resale or purchase of lift ticket/pass, or any other fraudulent use or alteration of tickets/passes;

§ actions likely to cause harm to self or others such as violations of closed areas, reckless/hazardous behavior on the slopes, including but not limited to reckless jumping, out of-control skiing or boarding, excessive speed in designated slow areas, unauthorized construction of jumps or obstacles;

§ sledding or tubing in unauthorized areas;

§ unauthorized public use of snowmobiles or other motorized vehicles in an area open to skiing;

§ unauthorized removal, destruction, defacing, or relocation of any sign(s), barricades, rope lines, cones, or other warning or marking devices;

§ reckless or hazardous behavior on lifts that may endanger self or others such as jumping from lift, deliberate excessive swinging of chairs, climbing towers or in any way interfering with the safe operation of the equipment;

§ any conduct that interferes with the safe administration of avalanche control, including any failure to respect avalanche closures or posted hazards;

§ unauthorized overnight parking or camping;

§ use of any unapproved / unauthorized equipment or downhill devices at Timberline;

§ use of any illegal substances;

§ consumption of marijuana anywhere on NFS lands; and

§ use of alcohol except within OLCC authorized areas in the SUP area.



Timberline will also enforce area policies which include, but are not limited to:

§ failure to follow designated uphill travel routes;

§ failure of snowshoers to remain on designated snowshoe trail only;

§ use of Timberline improvements (i.e., groomed slopes, terrain parks, cycling trails, chairlifts, or lodge facilities) without being a registered guest, purchasing a valid lift ticket, or without proper authorization;

§ failure to follow parking regulations, directions of parking lot staff or appropriate use of designated parking areas;

§ failure to follow trail designations;

§ overnight camping in permit area;

§ snow kite boarding or snow kite skiing within the SUP boundary, boarding any Timberline chairlift with a kite or kite-related equipment, or accessing snow kiting areas through the Timberline SUP area;

§ prohibition on operation or use of unmanned aerial systems (i.e., drones) by the general public – including recreational users and hobbyists – without the prior written authorization from Timberline management; and

§ entering closed areas.

Do not reply, please direct your arrogance and anger elsewhere, Steve
 

brett8883

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#14
Hi folks, I was directed here by one of my local Facebook groups up here in Seattle. Would you be able to set me straight on a few items? These are the US laws as I currently understand them:

1) General state or federal lands: no restriction on launch, landing, or overflight.

2) State or national parks, or national monuments: No launch or landing, but overflight OK

3) Federal wilderness areas: No launch or landing. 2000ft minimum flight altitude, which is out of the realm of recreational UAV use, but would not necessarily exclude an approved commercial flight from outside the boundary.

4) TFR areas: As far as I know, these are the only areas where both launch/landing AND overflight are absolutely restricted. Is this because the TFR is set by the FAA while the other rules are made by the department of the interior (including FS, BLM, and state agencies)?

Am I interpreting all this correctly?
You are right to bring up State Laws because while the FAA has the sole Federal authority to regulate airspace, there can be state laws I wouldn’t want to mess with. Here in Utah our State law practically defers all drone regulation to the FAA and prohibits local laws concerning drones, there is a law against flying over Antelope State Park. I don’t know why but I sure wouldn’t want to mess with that so I’d be afraid to tell you it’s ok to fly over State Parks for that reason. You are gonna have to check what your state laws are.
 
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sar104

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#15
Hey @sar104 remember for recreational pilots 336 acts as “authorization” so no additional auth needed to land in on NFS land if flying for recreation. Maybe the OP could clarify which rules he intends to fly under? @DMK are you flying for fun or for a job?

I know we had another thread about this specifically if you remember.
Section 336 doesn't authorize anything in relation to other agency restrictions. In this case, however, the USFS has no restrictions.
 

AMann

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#16
Section 336 doesn't authorize anything in relation to other agency restrictions. In this case, however, the USFS has no restrictions.
The USFS does have restrictions and legal jurisdiction for drones in posession, and landing in or taking off from wilderness and primitive areas, along with boundary waters wilderness. As drones are legally defined as motorized equipment, the USFS can cite drone fliers that posess or operate (take off or land) in designated wilderness areas under CFR 36- Sec. 261.16: National Forest Wilderness, and 261.19: national Forest Primitive Areas.

§261.16 The following are prohibited in a National Forest Wilderness:
(a) Possessing or using a motor vehicle, motorboat or motorized equipment except as authorized by Federal Law or regulation.
(b) Possessing or using a hang glider or bicycle.
(c) Landing of aircraft, or dropping or picking up of any material, supplies, or person by means of aircraft, including a helicopter.

§261.19 National Forest primitive areas.
The following are prohibited in any area classified as a National Forest Primitive Area on September 3, 1964:
(a) Landing of aircraft or using a motor boat, unless such use had be- come well established before Sep-tember 3, 1964.
(b) Possessing or using a motor or motorized equipment, except small battery powered, hand-held devices, such as cameras, shavers, flashlights, and Geiger-counters.
 
Last edited:

brett8883

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#17
So the reason I bring all this up is that I was questioning someone's company policy on drone use over their land. I'll recap a conversation I'm having with the GM of Tmberline lodge and ski area on My Hood. You guy's are going to like this. Here's their official policy, cut-and-pasted from their website:

Drone Policy

Out of safety concerns for guests, employees, and resort property, as well as concerns for individual privacy, Timberline Lodge prohibits the operation or use of unmanned aerial systems, or drones, by the general public – including recreational users and hobbyists. This prohibition includes drones used for filming or videotaping, as well as any drone use by media or journalists operating above or within Timberline boundaries. This prohibition on drone operations or use extends to any drones launched or operated from Resort property, as well as drones launched from private property outside of the Resort boundaries. Any violation of this policy may involve suspension of your skiing or snowboarding privileges, or the revocation of your season pass, as well as confiscation of any drone equipment, and may subject violators to any damages, including, but not limited to, damages for violations of privacy and/or physical or personal injuries or property damage, as well as regulatory fines and legal fees.

And here's my email to them. I was a bit of a ****, but that's just my MO:

Hi there,

I just wanted to reach out to you about something I found on your website regarding drone policy. There's a paragraph at the bottom of the rules page that's pretty clearly anti-drone. That's all fine and dandy, but I feel the need to point out some areas of concern, particularly with regard to your apparent gross misunderstanding of drones and the extent of your authority to control them.

1) "This prohibition includes drones used for filming or videotaping, as well as any drone use by media or journalists operating above or within Timberline boundaries."

This sentence would suggest that you have the authority to disallow UAV operation above your property, which you do not. General airspace is open to the public, and can not be categorized as private property.

2) "This prohibition on drone operations or use extends to any drones launched or operated from Resort property, as well as drones launched from private property outside of the Resort boundaries"

Again, you can prohibit launch and landing from your property, but you do not have the legal authority to disallow launch and landing from outside your boundary. Not even the National Park service can outlaw flight over a park or national monument when the craft departs from outside the boundary. And a private property owner certainly does not have that authority.

3) "Any violation of this policy may involve suspension of your skiing or snowboarding privileges, or the revocation of your season pass, as well as confiscation of any drone equipment..."

You are fully within your rights to deny anyone from your services, but you do not have any legal authority to "confiscate" someone else's personal property. This statement makes you look ridiculous and out of touch with reality.

4) "...and may subject violators to any damages, including, but not limited to, damages for violations of privacy"

First of all, what universe do you live in where a camera drone is a violation of privacy? Are you aware that cameras already exist everywhere, and that you do not need a flying machine to take pictures of strangers? Secondly, what exactly do you think these drones are capable of? These are not Obama dronestrike military aircraft, these are mini action cameras on a moving platform. The phone you have in your pocket right now has at least twice the zoom and spying capability as any commercially available drone has. And finally, what exactly are "damages for violations of privacy"? Can you even explain that?

Personally, my own fleet of mountain-flying quadcopters are moving along at 40-80mph. At that speed, I couldn't give a flying whoop about you or your gaper family down below, and not even with 4k resolution can I tell your face from your ***. Even if someone did care enough to film one of your guests without permission, and even if they had a stable quadcopter platform with zoom capabilities, they'd be much better off just leaning casually against a tree and zooming in with their cell phone. So why the **** are you so fixated on flying machines??

5) "...and/or physical or personal injuries or property damage, as well as regulatory fines and legal fees."

I don't know how to break this to you, but there are already laws in place that protect individuals from personal and/or property damage. And while it's obvious that the possibility of injury or property damage exists with drones, there are already rules in place that prohibit pilots from operating UAVs above or within 500 feet of non-participating bystanders, moving vehicles, and within certain areas surrounding inhabited buildings.

You really need to revisit this policy of yours, because in light of the facts it makes you look uninformed at best, and criminal at worst. You do not have the authority to treat people in the ways that this policy seems to promise. Stealing others personal property, making claims to nonsense "damages", and claiming to have the authority to control what others do in public airspace while standing on property that doesn't belong to you? Absolutely inexcusable hysteria-based behavior.

I hope you please forward this message to the appropriate policy-making body. Thanks for your time.

Sincerely,

XXXXXXXX

_____________________________________________________________
And here's their reply:

XXXXX, Timberline lodge and its environs are all Federal Property, and the business operates under a Special Use Permit from the US Forest Service. It appears that you may need to brush up on the guidelines in regards to drone use on Federal Land and Federal Wilderness.


Steve
_________________________________________________________________

Drone use is allowed on and above federal land without restriction.

Drone use over a federal wilderness area or national park is also allowed, assuming launch and landing are not conducted within the boundary.

It appears you don't know what the **** you're talking about, Steve.
___________________________________________________________________

3.0 Recreational Use of UAS on National Forest System (NFS) Lands

Recreational or Hobby UAS

Recreational or hobby UAS use is flying for enjoyment and not for work, business purposes, or for compensation or hire. A special use authorization is not required for noncommercial recreational activities or noncommercial activities involving expression of views (36 CFR 251.50). Members of the public may fly UAS for hobby or recreation in many places on NFS lands. However, there are areas on NFS lands where UAS can’t be flown as mandated by Federal law and in accordance with FAA guidelines. By law, the areas where UAS can’t be operated from include wilderness areas and areas with temporary flight restrictions (TFRs) in place, such as wildfires. The areas where they should not be flown in accordance with FAA safety and Forest Service applicable Federal agency guidelines include:

Developed sites to include campgrounds, and trailheads, marinas, resorts and ski areas

Forest Service helibases, airtanker bases, and other aircraft facilities including backcountry airstrips

Areas where aircraft are performing wildfire suppression or other natural resource management missions, such as aerial surveys for forest health protection

Flights over or near wildlife including sensitive, threatened and endangered species. This can create stress that may cause significant harm and even death

Areas closed to any and all entry under (36 CFR 261.53 – Special Closures)



Recreational use of UAS in Wilderness

1. Prohibited.

2. UAS are considered to be aircraft according to the FAA and both “motorized equipment” and “mechanical transport” under Section 4(c) of the Wilderness Act. As such they cannot take off from, land in, or be operated from congressionally designated Wilderness Areas.

20

Reference (The Wilderness Act P.L. 88-577), (36 CFR 261), (36 CFR 293) and (FSM 2320 – Wilderness management) for further policy guidance specific to designated wilderness on NFS lands. Below are specific policy excerpts covering UAS operations in the wilderness.

Forest Service Manual (FSM) 2326.03:

Discourage flights over wilderness within 2000 feet of the ground surface, except in emergencies or for essential military missions. (The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has agreed to and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has posted, for the FAA, a 2,000 foot over terrain flight advisory on appropriate aeronautical charts. Specific legislative provisions regarding overflight pertain to certain wildernesses.) Cooperate with the FAA, NOAA, military authorities, and with local pilots to promote compliance with the 2,000 foot limit, to keep aeronautical charts current, and to reduce low level flight.

The Wilderness Act (P.L. 88-577):

In summary, wilderness areas must be administered to provide for the preservation of their wilderness character, including undeveloped qualities and opportunities for solitude or a primitive and unconfined type of recreation. Section 2 (a) of the Wilderness Act identifies a National Wilderness Preservation System policy “to assure that increasing population, accompanied by expanding settlement and growing mechanization does not occupy and modify all areas.” Section 4 (c) of the Wilderness Act provides, with exceptions, that “there shall be...no use of motor vehicles, motorized equipment or motorboats, no landing of aircraft, no other form of mechanical transport, and no structure or installation within any such area.”





E. Rules of Use



Within the permit area, Timberline and its representatives are authorized to discourage and report to appropriate authorities:



1) incidents of offensive or derisive communications directed at any other person who is lawfully present when that communication has a direct tendency to cause acts of violence by the person to whom the remark is addressed; and

2) communication or actions directed toward inciting imminent lawless action and likely to incite such action.



Timberline may enforce rules of use, including a rule of use that prohibits the foregoing conduct, within the permit area and may remove persons who violate the rules of use. Timberline may use private security services or security guards and/or off-duty state or local law enforcement personnel to enforce the rules of use. Timberline may also call upon state or local law enforcement agencies to enforce violations of state or local law and Forest Service law enforcement officers to enforce violations of federal law.



The terms “skiing” and “skier” will also refer to “snowboarding” and “snowboarders” and to any other users of Timberline.



Timberline management may remove, trespass person(s) from the permit area for the following acts/behaviors:

§ violations of state/federal/local laws or regulations;

§ threats of violence or communications or actions likely to incite imminent violence or other imminent lawless behavior in others;

§ use of lifts, runs, terrain parks, and/or half pipes without a valid lift ticket or pass;

§ unauthorized resale or purchase of lift ticket/pass, or any other fraudulent use or alteration of tickets/passes;

§ actions likely to cause harm to self or others such as violations of closed areas, reckless/hazardous behavior on the slopes, including but not limited to reckless jumping, out of-control skiing or boarding, excessive speed in designated slow areas, unauthorized construction of jumps or obstacles;

§ sledding or tubing in unauthorized areas;

§ unauthorized public use of snowmobiles or other motorized vehicles in an area open to skiing;

§ unauthorized removal, destruction, defacing, or relocation of any sign(s), barricades, rope lines, cones, or other warning or marking devices;

§ reckless or hazardous behavior on lifts that may endanger self or others such as jumping from lift, deliberate excessive swinging of chairs, climbing towers or in any way interfering with the safe operation of the equipment;

§ any conduct that interferes with the safe administration of avalanche control, including any failure to respect avalanche closures or posted hazards;

§ unauthorized overnight parking or camping;

§ use of any unapproved / unauthorized equipment or downhill devices at Timberline;

§ use of any illegal substances;

§ consumption of marijuana anywhere on NFS lands; and

§ use of alcohol except within OLCC authorized areas in the SUP area.



Timberline will also enforce area policies which include, but are not limited to:

§ failure to follow designated uphill travel routes;

§ failure of snowshoers to remain on designated snowshoe trail only;

§ use of Timberline improvements (i.e., groomed slopes, terrain parks, cycling trails, chairlifts, or lodge facilities) without being a registered guest, purchasing a valid lift ticket, or without proper authorization;

§ failure to follow parking regulations, directions of parking lot staff or appropriate use of designated parking areas;

§ failure to follow trail designations;

§ overnight camping in permit area;

§ snow kite boarding or snow kite skiing within the SUP boundary, boarding any Timberline chairlift with a kite or kite-related equipment, or accessing snow kiting areas through the Timberline SUP area;

§ prohibition on operation or use of unmanned aerial systems (i.e., drones) by the general public – including recreational users and hobbyists – without the prior written authorization from Timberline management; and

§ entering closed areas.

Do not reply, please direct your arrogance and anger elsewhere, Steve
We have a similar issue here in Utah. The ski resorts here are all on USFS land and have “policies” against drones at the resorts. I have concluded that they can tell me to leave their leased land if I do something they don’t like. However if I take off from outside that area and fly over they have no say in the matter.
 
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sar104

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#18
The USFS does have restrictions and legal jurisdiction for drones in posession, and landing in or taking off from wilderness and primitive areas, along with boundary waters wilderness. As drones are legally defined as motorized equipment, the USFS can cite drone fliers that posess or operate (take off or land) in designated wilderness areas under CFR 36- Sec. 261.16: National Forest Wilderness, and 261.19: national Forest Primitive Areas.

§261.16 The following are prohibited in a National Forest Wilderness:
(a) Possessing or using a motor vehicle, motorboat or motorized equipment except as authorized by Federal Law or regulation.
(b) Possessing or using a hang glider or bicycle.
(c) Landing of aircraft, or dropping or picking up of any material, supplies, or person by means of aircraft, including a helicopter.

§261.19 National Forest primitive areas.
The following are prohibited in any area classified as a National Forest Primitive Area on September 3, 1964:
(a) Landing of aircraft or using a motor boat, unless such use had be- come well established before Sep-tember 3, 1964.
(b) Possessing or using a motor or motorized equipment, except small battery powered, hand-held devices, such as cameras, shavers, flashlights, and Geiger-counters.
The USFS restrictions are all described on their website. No one is disputing the prohibitions in wilderness. My point was that AIM lists restrictions that don't actually exist.
 
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AMann

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#19
The USFS restrictions are all described on their website. No one is disputing the prohibitions in wilderness. My point was that AIM lists restrictions that don't actually exist.
Ah, sorry I misunderstood. You mentioned the USFS has no restrictions in this case of AIM (meaning besides the wilderness areas restrictions). Good points.
 
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#20
2) State or national parks, or national monuments: No launch or landing, but overflight OK
Just got a paper copy of a current sectional chart in the mail and I was disappointed to read a statement on this in the bottom margin, right side. The 2000' AGL applies to National Parks, Nat'l Monuments, Forest Service Lands, Lakeshores, Seashores, etc., etc, etc. Even though this conflicts with a statement by the NPS (old?) I can't ignore it as it is from the FAA and current. I was hoping to get NP photos, but may have to make do with what I can get without overflying the parks. You can read this statement by going to the FAA site that has digital charts to view or download (has the word "Raster" in the website name).
 

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