Can I Fly Drone in National Monuments? A Handy Guide


Are you planning on flying a drone in national monuments?

Before you take off, it’s important to know whether or not it’s legal to do so. The rules and regulations regarding drone flight can vary depending on the location, so it’s important to do your research beforehand.

In this article, I’ll answer the question: can you fly a drone in national monuments?

In short, the answer is NO! You cannot fly drones in national monuments due to safety and security concerns.

The laws around drone flight can be complex. So, I’ll also let you know about FAA regulations, security concerns, permissions needed, and penalties (if any) so that you’re fully informed.

Can I Fly Drone in National Monuments

FAA Regulations on Flying Drones in National Monuments

Due to the following FAA regulations, you are not allowed to fly drones in national monuments:

  1. The FAA has restricted drone flights up to 400 feet within the lateral boundaries of certain Department of the Interior sites, including the Statue of Liberty and Mount Rushmore, under Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations § 99.7 – “Special Security Instructions.”
  2. These restrictions are effective since October 5, 2017, and only permit drone flights within these restrictions under exceptional circumstances, which must be coordinated with the individual facility and/or the FAA.
  3. To create awareness about these restricted locations, the FAA has provided an interactive map online and included the link in its B4UFLY mobile app.
  4. Operators who violate these airspace restrictions may be subject to enforcement action, including potential civil penalties and criminal charges.


Security Concerns

Flying a drone in national monuments comes with its own set of unique security concerns, which are worth considering before launching your drone. Here are some potential security concerns to keep in mind.

Security Concerns for Flying Drones in National Monuments

  1. Privacy invasion: Drones can capture images and videos of visitors, potentially invading their personal privacy and creating an uncomfortable environment.
  2. Vandalism risk: Drones may be used to deface or damage the monuments, either intentionally or accidentally, causing irreversible harm.
  3. Public safety: Drones can potentially fall or collide with people, posing risks to public safety and causing injuries.
  4. Security breaches: Unauthorized drones can capture sensitive information or footage, compromising the security of the National Monuments and the surrounding area.
  5. Wildlife disturbance: Drones may disrupt the natural habitats and behaviors of wildlife, especially if the National Monuments are home to protected species.

Permissions and Permits

Flying drones in National Monuments generally requires obtaining special permissions and permits. Waivers and exemptions can be requested, and drone operations might be considered on a case-by-case basis, with the park superintendent’s approval. The operator must also comply with all applicable FAA regulations, including Part 107, when necessary.

In emergency situations, such as search and rescue or wildland fire management, exceptions to the rule may be granted. These permits are typically issued to park personnel and authorized emergency responders.

Penalties for Flying a Drone without Authorization

Flying drones without authorization in national monuments can result in significant penalties. Violators may face fines up to $5,000 and/or six months of imprisonment, depending on the severity of the infraction. Additionally, the drone may be confiscated, and the operator could face further legal consequences. These penalties serve to deter unauthorized drone flights and protect the sensitive environment, wildlife, and cultural resources found within these protected areas.

Also check:


1. Can I Fly Drones in National Monuments if I am not a Licensed Drone Pilot?

No, you cannot fly a drone in National Monuments if you are not a licensed drone pilot. National Monuments are protected areas managed by federal agencies, and flying drones in these locations is strictly regulated. Even if you are a licensed drone pilot, you still need to obtain special permission or permits to operate a drone within National Monuments. Unauthorized drone flying in these areas can result in fines and penalties, as well as potential damage to the natural and cultural resources you’re trying to capture. Always respect the rules and regulations that protect these historic sites.

2. Who can Authorize the Use of Drones in National Monuments?

The use of drones in national monuments is typically regulated by the respective country’s government agencies responsible for managing these protected sites, such as the National Park Service in the United States. Authorization for drone usage in these areas may be granted on a case-by-case basis, usually for purposes like research, conservation, or media coverage, and often requires obtaining a special permit from the appropriate regulatory authority. It is crucial to consult and follow the guidelines established by the managing agency of the specific national monument in question before attempting to operate a drone at the site.

3. Can the Police Fly Drones in National Monuments?

Yes, police and other law enforcement agencies may be granted permission to fly drones in national monuments for specific purposes, such as public safety, security, or law enforcement operations. However, they must acquire all necessary approvals and permits from the relevant authorities, such as the National Park Service or the managing agency responsible for the monument. This ensures that drone usage adheres to all federal, state, and local regulations while also protecting the historical and cultural significance of these sites.


In conclusion, before flying a drone in national monuments, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the appropriate resources and tools. Download the B4UFLY mobile app to easily find safe and legal flying locations.

Drone laws are subject to change, and information in this blog may become outdated; always consult official sources for the latest regulations.

And if you have a related query, kindly feel free to let me know in the comments.

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Peter Karanja is a licensed drone pilot from Kenya, freelance writer and drone enthusiast. He has been using drones for land survey, GIS, and photography for the past three years. Being a drone user, he loves writing about drone applications, safety tips for using drones, and the best ways to get the most out of a drone.

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