Urge State Parks to Protect Wildlife by Regulating Drone Use

Oregon State Parks is accepting public comments to help inform where drone take-off and landings will be allowed within State Parks and along the ocean shore. This is a golden opportunity to help better protect nesting birds, marine mammals, and other wildlife from drone disturbances. Over a million seabirds and shorebirds nest along Oregon’s coastline every year including the endangered Western Snowy Plover and species of concern like the Tufted Puffin and Black Oystercatcher. This opportunity will also help preserve peaceful experiences for those who want to explore Oregon’s natural places and to recreate safely.

Wildlife disturbances due to improper drone use are increasing on the Oregon coast. Last year the Oregon Black Oystercatcher Project documented a rate of over three drone disturbances per week at active Black Oystercatcher nests. Oregon’s iconic coast and state parks are popular visitor destinations. As visitation increases we need to be proactive to minimize wildlife disturbance balanced with appropriate drone use.

A photo of a Snowy Plover family, two babies and one adult on the beach.
Western Snowy Plover, photo by Mick Thompson

Take Action

Email comments by April 15, 2022 to OPRD.publiccomment@oprd.oregon.gov 

There will also be two opportunities to provide oral testimony at 6 p.m. on March 30 and 31. Click here to learn more.

Talking Points

  • Thank State Parks for providing this opportunity and describe any personal experiences or events you have witnessed with drones in parks or on beaches
  • Recommend all state parks and beaches be closed to drone take-off and landings except where they can be safely allowed 
  • State Parks should determine where to allow drones based on the best available science
  • State Parks should create an independent technical working group (including agency, academic, NGO, and tribal experts) to determine appropriate designated drone take-off and landing areas that minimize wildlife, cultural and recreational impacts.
    • While designated areas are being determined, status quo drone use would continue (i.e. this would not ban all drone use at any time during the process)
  • State Parks should include a final map(s) of designated drone take-off and landing locations on their website
  • In areas that are approved for drone use, include in the rules:
    • No drone take-offs or landing to occur within 100m of any observed birds and/or known nesting locations or from seal haul out and pupping areas.
    • Drone take-off and landings should be discontinued if repeated wildlife disturbance events occur in the same location. 
  • All areas should be periodically reviewed for inclusion or removal as designated drone take-off and landing areas based on the best available science as wildlife usage and other factors can change over time.
  • State Parks should include strong enforcement mechanisms in final rules

To view the full proposed draft rules click here.