April 5, 2017


To:                Regional Directors

From:            Acting Director /s/ Michael T. Reynolds

Subject:        Reassignment of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Approval Authority to the Regional Directors

On June 19, 2014, the Director issued Policy Memorandum 14-05, Unmanned Aircraft – Interim Policy.  The purpose of the Policy Memorandum is to ensure that the use of UAS is addressed in a consistent manner by the National Park Service (NPS) before a significant level of such use occurs within the NPS.  The Policy Memorandum allows the use of UAS in certain circumstances with the approval of the Associate Director, Visitor and Resource Protection (ADVRP).

Since 2014, the NPS has experienced a surge in requests for the use of UAS within parks.  In order to reduce the NPS’s administrative burden and to more closely align the approval process for UAS with that in place for manned aircraft operations, the approval authority under Policy Memorandum 14-05 for the use of UAS is reassigned to the Regional Directors from the ADVRP.  All other requirements in Policy Memorandum 14-05 remain in effect until superseded or rescinded by the Director.

cc:        National Leadership Council

            Chief, Fire and Aviation

            Chief of Policy

            Regional Aviation Managers