National park clearance

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Fellow Pilots and aspiring photographers, I would like to know if anyone has been successful in gaining legal clearance to fly and film in national parks?
 
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Try it. It varies depending on the locale and the area's supervisor, and sundry other agencies who also get into the mix if they have some agreement with them. Whole process is surprising.

By the time you start getting all the paperwork, liability insurance for about $4-$5 million with the ACORD insurance forms signed over to them, sundry permits, and road encroachment release from whomever built the road in the park (They weren't built or maintained by the Park itself, but likely the local or county Roads or State Roads Dept.) and maintains it for you to park on, the local or county business license for the day, a monitor or ranger that will be assigned to you for ~$85-$110/hr. and weekdays only, possibility of needing a porta-potty hauled in and pumped out too depending on how many involved, and you'll learn something about dealing with the feds. I did it once with the U.S. Forest Service and it ran up to $2,300 for three hours, and the biggest rip off was the county roads department "Roads Encroachment Fee" for parking in a paved parking pullout for three hours which had to be signed off by the Forest Service before they'd sign off on their $230 non-refundable permit which was the cheapest part, next to a one-day business license for that county. Anyone else could park there for a $5 Adventure Pass, but if you want a permit, it's $1,600 for three hours to park in the same $5 spot (I kept their Roads Dept. encroachment parking approval paperwork as it is sort of humorous to look at it all!). It's a total wallet-buster and you'll get the impression they don't want you there flying your drone too, unless you pay through the nose for the privilege.

There is no set fee once the process starts, and it climbs fast from their published rates which you might find on some of their websites if others are part of the permit. It may be non-refundable too once it starts so watch out. As with FAA waivers, they are not fast either and it can take a few months too so plan way ahead. The advantage is with the ranger present, usually a Law Enforcement arm of whatever agency, no one will bother you and you are good to go.
 
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Wow, that is crazy. Thanks for the insight. I may see what I can do here in Virginia. I really want to get some footage of a place called “Old Rag” a beautiful boulder topped vista.

Thanks again for the knowledge.
 

BigAl07

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We've flown on and around the Blue Ridge Parkway (BRP) a few different times. Unfortunately not for Fun/Pleasure but for Search & Rescue.

We are "assigned" a NPS representative and he stays with our team the whole time we are flying from NPS land.

As stated above it's a gamble but until you try you'll never know.
 
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Try it. It varies depending on the locale and the area's supervisor, and sundry other agencies who also get into the mix if they have some agreement with them. Whole process is surprising.

By the time you start getting all the paperwork, liability insurance for about $4-$5 million with the ACORD insurance forms signed over to them, sundry permits, and road encroachment release from whomever built the road in the park (They weren't built or maintained by the Park itself, but likely the local or county Roads or State Roads Dept.) and maintains it for you to park on, the local or county business license for the day, a monitor or ranger that will be assigned to you for ~$85-$110/hr. and weekdays only, possibility of needing a porta-potty hauled in and pumped out too depending on how many involved, and you'll learn something about dealing with the feds. I did it once with the U.S. Forest Service and it ran up to $2,300 for three hours, and the biggest rip off was the county roads department "Roads Encroachment Fee" for parking in a paved parking pullout for three hours which had to be signed off by the Forest Service before they'd sign off on their $230 non-refundable permit which was the cheapest part, next to a one-day business license for that county. Anyone else could park there for a $5 Adventure Pass, but if you want a permit, it's $1,600 for three hours to park in the same $5 spot (I kept their Roads Dept. encroachment parking approval paperwork as it is sort of humorous to look at it all!). It's a total wallet-buster and you'll get the impression they don't want you there flying your drone too, unless you pay through the nose for the privilege.

There is no set fee once the process starts, and it climbs fast from their published rates which you might find on some of their websites if others are part of the permit. It may be non-refundable too once it starts so watch out. As with FAA waivers, they are not fast either and it can take a few months too so plan way ahead. The advantage is with the ranger present, usually a Law Enforcement arm of whatever agency, no one will bother you and you are good to go.


Sound doable
 
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Water (unsuitable for drinking without treatment as it is pumped from the creek and may contain organisms that can cause illness), toilets (including wheelchair accessible), individual fire rings (bring your own clean-cut firewood), walking tracks. CCleaner Happy Wheels VLC
 
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Try it. It varies depending on the locale and the area's supervisor, and sundry other agencies who also get into the mix if they have some agreement with them. Whole process is surprising.
Also, no one at the park itself can grant permission. This can only come from the person in charge of all National Parks.
 
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Also, no one at the park itself can grant permission. This can only come from the person in charge of all National Parks.
In accordance with the NPS policy, approval comes from the Associate Director, Visitor and Resource Protection for the NPS.
 
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John: The appropriate authorities for all national parks, in every country I’ve worked in, will issue permits. But it isn’t cheap and therefore realistically only for professional filming projects. If by any chance you’re serious - or for anyone else reading this - plan well in advance because official permissions take time to secure.
 
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It depends on a place and country. I think it's a good way to film a nature, but I think that official permition is needed.
 

BigAl07

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It depends on a place and country. I think it's a good way to film a nature, but I think that official permition is needed.

It's required by law and not "easy" to get. More places are starting to be more sUAS friendly.
 

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