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Contact: Julena Campbell, Public Affairs Officer, 520-824-3560 x 307
Southeast Arizona Group Superintendent H. Lane Baker announced today that the “Superintendent’s Compendiums” covering the three National Park Service (NPS) sites in Cochise County have been updated with language restricting the use of unmanned aircraft, commonly referred to as “drones”, within the park boundaries. The restriction also applies to other unmanned aircraft including quadcopters and model airplanes. The Southeast Arizona Group is comprised of Chiricahua National Monument (NM), Coronado National Memorial (NMem), and Fort Bowie National Historic Site (NHS).
The new policy restricting unmanned aircraft use in all NPS units came from the Office of the Director of the National Park Service. In a statement in late June, NPS Director Jonathan B. Jarvis said, “We embrace many activities in national parks because they enhance visitor experiences with the iconic natural, historic and cultural landscapes in our care. However, we have serious concerns about the negative impact that flying unmanned aircraft is having in parks, so we are prohibiting their use until we can determine the most appropriate policy that will protect park resources and provide all visitors with a rich experience.”
The use of unmanned aircraft is considered a new activity that affects park resources, staff, and visitors in ways that the NPS has yet to identify and analyze. NPS policies prohibit allowing new park uses until a determination has been made that it will not result in unacceptable impacts on park resources and values.
The “Superintendent’s Compendium” is a document which is reviewed yearly and provides regulations and guidance on specific activities within a particular park, based on the delegated authority of the Superintendent, provided under Title 36, Code of Federal Regulations. This restriction of unmanned aircraft use is an interim policy that will remain in place until the NPS develops a service-wide regulation to address unmanned aircraft through the public rulemaking process.
Copies of the “Superintendent’s Compendium” are available on park websites. To read the compendium that addresses both Chiricahua NM and Fort Bowie NHS, visit www.nps.gov/chir/parkmgmt/