The state parks of Oregon are beautiful and biologically diverse. You can explore 12,000-foot peaks, temperate rainforests, high-elevation deserts, and pristine beaches all within the span of a few hundred miles.
Because of this, you may be tempted to bring your drone with you on your next adventure.
Can you fly a drone in Oregon State Parks?
Currently, there are no statewide rules regarding drone operations in Oregon State Parks. Instead, each state park has the authority to allow, prohibit, or restrict drone usage.
Smith Rock State Park, for instance, welcomes drone pilots from August 2 to January 14. Meanwhile, Champoeg State Heritage Area prohibits drone usage year-round.
Read on to learn more about Oregon State Park drone rules.
Federal drone laws in Oregon State Parks
Perhaps you want to capture seaside views at Fogarty Creek State Recreation Area. Or, maybe you want to record a stunning sunset at Ecola State Park.
Either way, you will need to be aware of federal drone laws.
Enforced by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), these rules apply to all recreational UAV pilots in the United States.
The two biggest rules to remember are that you must:
- Take the exam: The FAA requires that all UAV hobbyists take and pass The Recreational UAS Safety Test (TRUST). You must also carry proof of passing at all times when flying.
- Register your drone: If your drone weighs more than 0.55 pounds, you must register your drone with the FAA. You should also remember to carry your registration paperwork when flying.
Other safety guidelines to follow:
- Keep your drone within your visual line of sight
- Avoid other aircraft
- Fly at or below 400 feet
- Only fly during good weather
- Avoid flying over crowds
State drone laws in Oregon State Parks
Before you fly above the high-elevation deserts and temperate rainforests of Oregon, you need to familiarize yourself with the state drone laws.
We discuss these rules in greater detail in our overview of Oregon state drone regulations.
» MORE: Drone Laws in Oregon
However, we have distilled the key points here.
- Do not use your drone as a weapon. According to HB 4066, you could face a misdemeanor if you attempt to use your unmanned aircraft to fire bullets, drop objects, or otherwise cause harm to individuals. This bill also discusses repercussions for using a drone to endanger aircraft or invade others’ privacy.
- Avoid private property. Unless you want to face harassment charges, do not fly over private property.
- Pay your fee. As noted in SB 5702, registering a public drone comes at a cost.
Drones are also prohibited in Oregon Metro Parks and Portland parks.
Can you fly a drone in Oregon State Parks?
If you want to capture footage of old-growth forests or cliffside beaches, the state parks of Oregon are probably calling your name.
But is it legal to fly a drone in these public spaces?
Yes and no. In recent years, there has been significant debate over whether to officially allow or outlaw drones in Oregon State Parks.
However, as of this writing, there are no statewide rules regarding drone operations in Oregon State Parks.
Instead, individual parks have the leeway to “adopt temporary rules that protect sensitive plants and animals as well as public and private property, and allow managers to smooth over conflicts between visitors.”
Below, we have listed the Oregon State Parks with known drone rules.
If you’re unsure of a park’s specific restrictions, ask a uniformed park ranger, call 1-800-551-6949 and ask to be connected to the closest state park office, or send an email ahead of time to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bandon State Natural Area
To protect wildlife, specifically nesting birds, drones are prohibited at Bandon State Natural Area.
Bullards Beach State Park
Commercial and recreational drones are prohibited at Bullards Beach State Park.
Cape Arago State Park
You cannot legally fly a drone at Cape Arago State Park.
Champoeg State Heritage Area
Drones are not allowed anywhere within the boundaries of the Champoeg State Heritage Area.
Face Rock State Scenic Viewpoint
Drones are prohibited at Face Rock State Scenic Viewpoint.
L.L. Stub Stewart State Park
You may fly your drone at the Hilltop Day Use Area inside L.L. Stub Stewart State Park. However, all other areas are prohibited.
Nehalem Bay State Park
To protect nesting shorebirds, drones are not allowed at Nehalem Bay State Park.
Seven Devils State Recreation Site
UAV pilots cannot fly at Seven Devils State Recreation Site.
Shore Acres State Park
To avoid disturbing nesting shorebirds, drones are not allowed at Shore Acres State Park.
Silver Falls State Park
You may fly your drone at the South Viewpoint and the North Falls Group Camp and Day Use Area. However, all other areas of Silver Falls State Park are off-limits.
Smith Rock State Park
Drones are prohibited from January 15 to August 1 to protect nesting golden eagles and falcons.
Sunset Bay State Park
Drones are prohibited at Sunset Bay State Park.
Other tips for flying a drone in Oregon State Parks
Park rangers encourage UAV pilots to use “common sense” when flying in Oregon State Parks. This means:
- Avoid flying near people, traffic, and historic structures
- Share overviews and vistas with other visitors
- Respect people and wildlife
Also, it’s worth noting that if a park ranger asks you to relocate or stop flying, you should cooperate.
Though the state parks of Oregon afford jaw-dropping views of mountains, beaches, and deserts, most are not very welcoming of UAV pilots. Because of this, it is crucial that you understand the latest drone rules.
When in doubt, always ask before you fly. A uniformed park ranger can answer any questions you have regarding drone laws.
You can also call 1-800-551-6949 or email email@example.com.
FAA Part 107 Remote Pilot Test Prep
Peltier has quite the experience, making him qualified to teach about photography and drones in separate courses. He was a part of the U.S. Air Force as an F-15E flight instructor for a decade.
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.