Can You Fly A Drone in Ohio State Parks? (Answered)


In this blog post, we’ll explore the question, “Is drone flying allowed in Ohio State Parks?”.

So, let’s jump in and discover everything you need to know — regulations, penalties (if any) and safety tips to keep in mind!

Can You Fly A Drone in Ohio State Parks

Can You Fly a Drone in Ohio State Parks?

Yes, you can fly a drone in Ohio State Parks. However, it is essential to familiarize yourself with the local regulations and guidelines to ensure a safe and legal flying experience. Here drone flights are regulated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which has specific rules and restrictions in place to protect public safety and privacy. By adhering to these regulations and respecting the local authorities’ guidelines, drone enthusiasts can enjoy capturing stunning aerial footage while exploring Ohio State Parks’s beautiful landscapes.

Overview of Drone Regulations

Let’s take a look at some of the key points for drone regulations:

Maximum Altitude Limits

  • Drone operators must adhere to a maximum altitude limit of 400 feet above ground level to ensure they do not interfere with manned aircrafts or wildlife in the park.
  • In areas where manned aircrafts frequently operate, such as near airstrips or helipads within the park, the maximum altitude limit for drones is reduced to 100 feet to ensure safety.

Distance Restrictions

  • Drones must be flown at a maximum altitude of 400 feet above ground level to avoid interference with other aircrafts and to maintain a safe distance from wildlife and park visitors.
  • The operator must ensure the drone remains within visual line of sight at all times, and should not fly the drone more than 1,500 feet horizontally away from the operator.

Prohibited Activities and Actions

  • Flying drones over areas populated by visitors or wildlife is strictly prohibited, to ensure safety and to prevent disturbance to the natural ecosystem.
  • All drone operators are required to obtain a permit before conducting any drone activities within park boundaries, and must comply with all FAA regulations and park-specific rules at all times.

Privacy and Data Protection Considerations

  • All drone operators must respect the privacy of park visitors and should not capture images, videos, or other data where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy. This involves not recording identifiable information without explicit consent from the individuals involved.
  • Operators must store and handle any data collected by drones, including photos or videos, in a way that complies with Ohio’s personal data protection laws. This includes not sharing, selling, or otherwise distributing this data without proper authority or consent.

Commercial Operations

  • All commercial drone operators must possess a valid Part 107 certificate issued by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) before conducting any drone activities.
  • For commercial operations, a permit is required from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) and these permits are granted on a case-by-case basis depending upon the proposed use and the potential impact on park resources and visitors.

Penalties for Violating Drone Regulations

If you violate drone regulations, you might face some serious consequences. These penalties can vary based on the nature and severity of the violation. For minor offenses, you could be subject to fines, which can range typically from a few hundred to several thousand dollars. More serious violations, such as using your drone to spy on someone or endanger public safety, may result in higher fines or even criminal charges.

In addition to financial penalties, you may also face administrative action from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). This could include the suspension or revocation of your drone permit, if you have one. In some cases, you might even be banned from flying drones in the future. Remember, these sanctions are not just to penalize you; they’re also to ensure the safety and privacy of everyone else.

Tips for Safe and Responsible Drone Flying in Ohio State Parks

To ensure a positive drone flying experience and comply with the regulations, here are some essential tips to keep in mind:

  1. Know the Rules: Familiarize yourself with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) regulations for drone operations in state parks to ensure your activities are legal and safe.
  2. Respect Wildlife: Avoid disturbing wildlife in the park, as drones can cause stress or harm to animals. Maintain a safe distance whenever possible.
  3. Maintain Visual Contact: Always keep your drone within sight to avoid collisions with trees, people, or other structures within the park.
  4. Practice Flight Skills: Ensure you have adequate drone piloting skills before flying in the park. Practice safe maneuvers, takeoff, and landing to prevent accidents.
  5. Respect Privacy: Remember that parks are shared spaces. Do not fly over crowded areas or invade the privacy of other park visitors with your drone.


Can I Fly My Drone at Night in Ohio State Parks?

Yes, you can fly your drone in Ohio State Parks, including at night. However, you should adhere to all Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) rules and regulations, such as maintaining visual line of sight, to ensure safe and legal operation.

Can You Bring a Drone to Ohio State Parks?

Yes, you can bring a drone to Ohio State Parks. However, it’s important to follow any specific drone regulations in place within each park to ensure your drone operation is legal and safe.

Do I Need a License or Permit to Fly a Drone in Ohio State Parks?

Yes, you can fly a drone in Ohio State Parks, but a permit is required. The permit ensures the safety and privacy of park visitors and wildlife. Ensure compliance with federal FAA regulations as well. Always check the specific park’s regulations beforehand.


Before you launch your drone into the Ohio State Parks skies, it’s crucial to understand the area’s drone laws and regulations.

This applies not only to Ohio State Parks but also to other destinations around the world. For example, if you’re heading to Machu Picchu, it’s important to know the specific rules and guidelines for drone flying there. Similarly, if you have dreams of capturing breathtaking footage of Badlands or exploring drone opportunities around Grand Canyon, it’s essential to be aware of the local drone regulations in those locations as well.

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

So, whether you’re planning a leisurely flight or engaging in commercial drone operations, make sure to fly responsibly, and stay informed.

Resources and Further Information:

Photo of author
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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