Canadian National Parks are stunning, but can you fly your drone there? The quick answer is no, however there are some very specific use cases that could be allowed.
Recently, we had a request to fly for a construction project in Jasper National Park. A quick google search on the topic led us to Jasper’s drone page, which immediately makes a few things clear.
First off, any recreational use of drones within the park is prohibited. If caught, you could face a fine of up to $25,000.
Commercial drone use, however, can be permitted under the right circumstances. Those specific uses cases are the following: natural or cultural resource management and protection, public safety, law enforcement, or park / site management purposes directly relating to park administrative purposes.
Flying for construction progress doesn’t fit into any of the above categories, except maybe the last one as it could be used for administrative purposes. With that, I applied and received word back a couple of days later.
Thank you for your email inquiry regarding using a drone (unmanned air vehicle/UAV) in Japer National Park. Drones pose threats to wildlife, and to the safety and enjoyment of the park by visitors. Crashed drones can cause injury, wildfire, or environmental contamination. As such, their use is strictly limited to park management purposes; recreational use is not permitted within park boundaries.
Under the National Parks Aircraft Access Regulations, drones are considered aircraft and the take-off or landing of a drone requires a Restricted Activity Permit issued by the superintendent. These permits can be issued under section 3(1) for the purposes of (a) natural or cultural resource management and protection directly related to the administration of the park; (b) any other management or control function directly related to the administration of the park; (c) public safety; or (d) law enforcement.
Transport Canada’s Civil Aviation Regulations prohibit drone flights where they could endanger aviation safety or the safety of any person. As such, drone flights are prohibited near Jasper’s airfield, heliport, or other locations where aircraft take off and land.
Your request does not meet the required purposes listed above, nor does it qualify for a Restricted Activity Permit to launch or land a drone in Jasper National Park. Your request is therefore denied.
So unfortunately this request wasn’t approved as it doesn’t fall into any of the 4 categories that have been laid out.
What does this mean for you? In short, you cannot fly your drone in any of Canada’s National Parks unless it is for one of the reasons listed above, and recreational flight is completely prohibited.
We often receive questions from international travelers that are looking to fly their drones in Canada. There is a way to obtain a permit (SFOC) to fly in Canada, however regardless of the permit you still won’t be able to fly your drone in our beautiful national parks. Instead, bring your ground based camera and enjoy the sites from ground level 🙂
There are 38 national parks, and from our recent conversations it appears that they are all operating in the same manner when it comes to drones.
Thanks for reading, and I hope this helps you if you were looking to fly your drone in any of Canada’s beautiful National Parks!