DJI Mavic, Air and Mini Drones
Friendly, Helpful & Knowledgeable Community
Join Us Now

No longer allowed to fly in Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area

Paul Stocum

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 8, 2022
Messages
90
Reactions
126
Age
61
Location
Las Vegas, NV
As of a few months ago, Las Vegas area drone fliers were allowed to fly in the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area (RRCCA). The park is a BLM and seems to have been a rare exception to allowing drone flying for recreational purposes. Still the park website in the FAQ section says:

Is flying a drone allowed at Red Rock Canyon?
Yes, visitors can fly drones for recreational purposes at Red Rock Canyon. Please do not disturb wildlife or visitors while flying your drone.
Visitors are prohibited from launching and landing drones and other unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) in Red Rock Canyon's Wilderness Areas (La Madre Mountain Wilderness Area & Rainbow Mountain Wilderness Area).
The Las Vegas Soaring Club also has flying space nearby. To find out more information, please visit www.lvsoaringclub.org

We were in the green spot, the 2 wildernesses mentioned above are approx. in the red areas. Keeping the drone in LOS would keep us well away from the red areas. Unless the Rainbow Wilderness Area extends all the way to the road.

Screenshot 2022-12-03 at 11.38.43 AM.png


Recently I took a newbie flyer out to go over to basics in flying to RRCCA. He picked up a Mavic 3 Pro Cine for $3.2k (so jealous) There is a parking lot next to the Scenic Loop exit to the park that is generally not busy if not empty. The area is void of visitors, hikers and wildlife. And no obstacles over 10'. Perfect to show a newbie how to fly and get used to his controls. I often go there to refresh myself on some of the features and to practice.

After we went through 2 batteries and just lifted off with the 3rd battery a park ranger walked over from the parking lot to inform us that there is no drone flying allowed in the park. She was as pleasant as can be, but you could tell she was poised for a confrontation. I remained calm, polite and asked her when did that change? The ranger let me know it was discussed and decided upon a month or so ago. I told her that I had just looked at the site a month ago and the site still clearly states what I copied above. She of course said she is doing her do diligence as per her superiors but suggested I walk over 100 yards to the easement where it is no longer park property, and that she will let her people know to double check the website. I thanked her and we spent the 3rd battery from the easement.

When I had a chance to look up the FAQ, it still showed the same statement. And we were no where near the 2 wilderness areas mentioned. I then looked up the exact spot we were at on Airloft and it showed all green. When you click on the mission, it already says approved before you enter anything in. However there was a warning message in the green signal that when clicked on said:

BLM Wilderness Areas
This is a wilderness area. Drone use (commercial and personal) is prohibited within all wilderness areas.Screenshot 2022-12-03 at 11.39.46 AM.png


In the end, it seems despite the "okay" from the official park website, we are not allowed to fly this BLM now. At one time I believe there was a sign at the entrance stating drone use is okay, just be courteous - or something similar. Sad that some of the most scenic places in this country are no fly zones. I get why, but sad none the less.
 
Last edited:
In Spain around half of the territory out of controlled airspace is a ZEPA, wich is a no fly zone basically.

No fly zones will increase over time till the day you'll have to pay to fly your drone. You don't want to comply? Say hello to RID.
 
the "okay" from the official park website
The "Okay" was merely a reply in a FAQ, and you put too much stack in a this. Try using that defense in a court of law and you will probably lose. As the old expression goes, "Ignorance is no excuse for the law." I admit, it is not a good situation and I cannot tell if it's legal or not. I would have asked for the ranger's supervisor's phone number to get the official documentation that now prohibited it and then I would joined you over in the easement...
 
  • Like
Reactions: twickers14
The "Okay" was merely a reply in a FAQ, and you put too much stack in a this. Try using that defense in a court of law and you will probably lose.
Actually, this is a valid argument. If the official website of an organization or area says it's okay, then that is permission. I'd still land if asked, and then get clarification, but if they ticket you, it can be used as a valid defense. That's the official answer. If they've changed the policy, it needs to be written down somewhere and the site needs to be changed to reflect the new policy.
As the old expression goes, "Ignorance is no excuse for the law." I admit, it is not a good situation and I cannot tell if it's legal or not. I would have asked for the ranger's supervisor's phone number to get the official documentation that now prohibited it and then I would joined you over in the easement...
 
Actually, this is a valid argument. If the official website of an organization or area says it's okay, then that is permission. I'd still land if asked, and then get clarification, but if they ticket you, it can be used as a valid defense. That's the official answer. If they've changed the policy, it needs to be written down somewhere and the site needs to be changed to reflect the new policy.
A valid argument, however, does no equal a valid legal defense.
 
  • Like
Reactions: LoudThunder
A clear statement of legality on the official website certainly does equal a valid legal defense.
It can be used as a defense. It's on their website, so it's official permission.
 
Doesn't make sense to me. You're not hurting anything by flying a drone there. It would be interesting to hear their reason for the ban.
They make up all kinds of lame excuses why small recreational drones can't be flown in these areas. The truth is drones do not have the impact on local wildlife as governments suggest. They are just using drones as another excuse to justify the need for their jobs. Yeah, there will be a few idiots who fly too close to endangered bird species, but I sincerely doubt these rare incursions will affect any endangered animal species. Of course, the government number pushers will tell us different.
 
Let's look at the possible results of defying the Ranger's request to stop. The Ranger was probably armed, if so then she probably has arrest authority. And some of the levels of escalation for defying her might mean a Ticket, it might mean arrest, and it might mean confiscation of the drone.

If you received a ticket, then you would have the inconvenience of going to court to fight the case, it might escalate to including a lawyer (cost), if you are arrested, then time in jail, maybe having to post bail, a trial, again with a lawyer, and if your drone was confiscated, the task of trying to get it back at all and in the same condition as when this all started…

Good Luck!
 
  • Like
Reactions: Don Testme
Let's look at the possible results of defying the Ranger's request to stop. The Ranger was probably armed, if so then she probably has arrest authority. And some of the levels of escalation for defying her might mean a Ticket, it might mean arrest, and it might mean confiscation of the drone.

If you received a ticket, then you would have the inconvenience of going to court to fight the case, it might escalate to including a lawyer (cost), if you are arrested, then time in jail, maybe having to post bail, a trial, again with a lawyer, and if your drone was confiscated, the task of trying to get it back at all and in the same condition as when this all started…

Good Luck!
Exactly right. I always land and pack my gear up when Law Enforcement confronts me. However, after landing and stowing away the gear, I always try to educate any officers who are amenable to it. In no why do I try to be argumentative or behave in a superior way. Police seem to have sensitive egos. Female police not so much.
 
  • Like
Reactions: LoudThunder
Sad to hear. I always try to visit Red Rock Canyon whenever I'm in Vegas as it's one of the few scenic places nearby where drones aren't banned. I wonder if it's still legal to fly from Calico Basin to the right of this picture.

PSX_20201209_165934.jpg
 
  • Like
Reactions: LoudThunder
Sad to hear. I always try to visit Red Rock Canyon whenever I'm in Vegas as it's one of the few scenic places nearby where drones aren't banned. I wonder if it's still legal to fly from Calico Basin to the right of this picture.

View attachment 157938
I'm sure you already know this. It's all about the spot where you take off or land. If it's public property, you can take off, fly over the canyon and land back on public land. Also, if you get permission from a private landowner nearby, you can take off, do you canyon flyover and land in the same place you took off.
 
Let's look at the possible results of defying the Ranger's request to stop. The Ranger was probably armed, if so then she probably has arrest authority. And some of the levels of escalation for defying her might mean a Ticket, it might mean arrest, and it might mean confiscation of the drone.

If you received a ticket, then you would have the inconvenience of going to court to fight the case, it might escalate to including a lawyer (cost), if you are arrested, then time in jail, maybe having to post bail, a trial, again with a lawyer, and if your drone was confiscated, the task of trying to get it back at all and in the same condition as when this all started…

Good Luck!
It was a pleasant exchange throughout. She subtly acknowledged it was allowed up until just a short time ago by her statement that policy has recently changed. I would imagine there is a due diligence phase as they transcend to the knew rules. A ticket wasn’t hinted or implied, just an FYI discussion. No she wasn’t armed.
 
  • Like
Reactions: LoudThunder
Sad to hear. I always try to visit Red Rock Canyon whenever I'm in Vegas as it's one of the few scenic places nearby where drones aren't banned. I wonder if it's still legal to fly from Calico Basin to the right of this picture.

View attachment 157938
The FAQ Answer and the verbal description from the ranger are not consistent. Calico is still BLM, so possibly would be banned too. There certainly needs to be some clarification.
 
People see a drone and complain. Exactly why, I do not know. They tolerate many more things that are far more annoying from loud cars and motorcycles, loud and rude people etc. And the authorities they complain to also often do not know the laws so they move thinking they are helping. I think we all need to carry the laws with us so that when this happens we can educate others including authorities about the laws. Further, it is gonna get to the point where we're gonna have to stand up against unfair laws regarding flying drones, particularly if we currently simply roll over and go away.
Having said that, I also know people are more destructive, rude, loud and obnoxious than ever, particularly when no one else is around. And that is how people think. They think we are sneaking our drone around taking pictures of mountains and streams as if we shouldn't. BTW: A drone is perhaps the most environmentally friendly object we have. We used to say leave only tracks and take only pictures when going into the mountains. Now with drones, we don't even leave tracks. We need to fly with dignity, follow the rules and set an example. And perhaps most of all, be nice to others. I have flown my drone in areas where other people were watching. I've taken pictures of them with my drone and included them in a nice and freindly way. Most of the time they love it. They smile and wave etc. How many of us when asked, can you please take a picture of our group, take their phone and do it. Of course we do and they do it for us. We need to all play nice in the sandbox! And then we'll keep getting those awesome videos from the air that we all love to share with others.
 
Last edited:
Doesn't make sense to me. You're not hurting anything by flying a drone there. It would be interesting to hear their reason for the ban.
Like all things today, the govt doesn't have to give you a reason. Even if they did it would most likely be illogical. The overall ban in national parks, tied to wildlife sensibilities, is nonsense. The most visited national parks in the country are covered up by noisy motorcycles and other vehicles of that type. Drones are way quieter and less disturbing than almost any vehicle - as long as you aren't do fly bys of the wildlife of course.
 
Doesn't make sense to me. You're not hurting anything by flying a drone there. It would be interesting to hear their reason for the ban.
Drones when flown correctly/safely are great and tend not to be an issue especially if you're staying away from wildlife...

Drones not behaving as they should be it operator error, malfunction, lost power, etc, can be a major issue for a protected area, especially in the event of a LiPo battery fire. More likely when you're nearly 2 miles away and can't do anything quickly about a downed drone.

Though I'm with Vic, if they actually said "okay" on an official platform, and you actually have the time and money to debate it in court, then by all means try to set some sort of precedence.

However I would argue that unless Nevada is just reiterating a pre-existing federal regulation as their own, they don't have the authority to govern the airspace in regards to drones "flying", they can dictate land-use though (taking off, landing, operating from).

BLM (Bureau of Land Management) is however federal, like NPS (National Park Services).
 
Also far as BLM Wilderness Areas... it's not just drones so don't feel targeted in that respect (Though drones are the least likely to actually touch the wilderness out of all the prohibitions)

Wilderness Areas​

Drone flight is prohibited in Wilderness Areas as written in the Wilderness Act of 1964. According to the law, all motor vehicles and mechanized equipment are not allowed to operate in Wilderness Areas as these areas serve as a refuge away from the mechanized world. RVs and off-road vehicles are also prohibited in Wilderness Areas. Of all classifications of public lands, Wilderness Areas likely have the longest list of restricted activities.

The BLM manages 260 Wilderness Areas in the Western States and in Alaska. Notable examples include the Beartrap Canyon in Utah and the Darwin Falls in California. With that many exceptions, thinking that drone flight is allowed in a place just because it is managed by the BLM is a dangerous assumption.
Source : Can You Fly Drones in Public Land Managed by BLM? - Pilot Institute
 
  • Like
Reactions: LoudThunder
Lycus Tech Mavic Air 3 Case

DJI Drone Deals

New Threads

Forum statistics

Threads
131,001
Messages
1,558,766
Members
159,985
Latest member
kclarke2929