Drones Banned From Appalachian Trail

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The National Park Service has developed an interim policy prohibiting the use of unmanned aircraft on NPS managed lands of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail. This is a new park use that could affect park resources, staff, and visitors in ways that the National Park Service has yet to identify, analyze and examine. It is the National Park Service policy to not allow a new park use until a determination has been made that it will not result in unacceptable impacts on park resources and values, plus staff and visitor safety.

The closure prohibits the launching, landing, or operating an unmanned aircraft from or on lands and waters administered by the National Park Service within the boundaries of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail.

The term “unmanned aircraft” means a device that is used or intended to be used for flight in the air without the possibility of direct human intervention from within or on the device, and the associated operational elements and components that are required for the pilot or system operator in command to operate or control the device (such as cameras, sensors, communication links). This term includes all types of devices that meet this definition (e.g., model airplanes, quadcopters, drones) that are used for any purpose, including for recreation or commerce.”

This interim policy is effective Aug. 20, until such time that the National Park Service can determine the most appropriate policy that will protect park resources and provide all visitors with a rich experience.

The Appalachian Trail is a 2,184-mile public footpath that traverses the scenic, wooded, pastoral, wild, and culturally resonant lands of the Appalachian Mountains. Conceived in 1921, built by private citizens, and completed in 1937, today the trail is managed by the National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, numerous state agencies and thousands of volunteers. www.nps.gov/appa

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