Drones in Delaware State Parks

To ensure the comfort and safety of park visitors and protection of state park cultural and natural resources, a special use permit is required for operation of a drone or other UAV (unmanned aircraft system) on or over any land or water administered by the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control’s Division of Parks and Recreation.

Specific Restrictions and Procedures

Drones/UAVs may not be flown:

  • In or around unprotected persons
  • In parking lots
  • Near any protected wildlife species, in active wildlife nesting or breeding areas or harassing wildlife
  • Nature Preserves
  • Where the activity would not be appropriate within the overall character of a park.
  • Within 100’ of vulnerable property
  • General recreational use is limited to areas designated by the Division for such purposes.

Obtain A Permit

For information or to obtain a permit, contact the superintendent of the park where you want to fly, then submit the following to the park superintendent at least 10 days before your planned flight:

  • Your completed application
  • Licensure
  • Insurance
  • FAA documentation
  • Flight plan

There is a $75 administrative fee for the permit. If it is determined that supervision by park staff is required for your flight, an additional supervision fee of $35 per hour is charged.

Permit Evaluation

In areas designated for recreational use, the following factors will be considered when evaluating your special permit request:

  • Public safety
  • Federal Aeronautics Administration(FAA) regulations and Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) guidelines
  • Natural resource protection
  • Cultural resource protection
  • Visitor experience
  • Purpose of the flight
  • Date and time of day of flight
  • Specific location(s) selected for the flight
  • Insurance coverage required by the State of Delaware: $1,000,000 per occurrence, $3,000,000 aggregate. Insurance must specifically cover the use of drones.

In areas NOT designated for recreational use, the following factors will be considered when evaluating your special permit request:

  • Enforcement/Safety
  • Government operational missions, such as infrastructure inspections, GIS, marketing, etc.
    Requires pre-approved FAA Part 107 exemption and issued Certificate of Authorization (COA), as well as Division of Parks and Recreation authorization
  • Scientific research
  • Those conducted by State Park Friends Groups or volunteers in support of the mission of the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control’s Division of Parks and Recreation
  • Educational purposes in cooperation with state-recognized formal educational entities in coordination with an identified need of the Division.

For More Information

Speak to a park superintendent for more information about flying a drone or UAV in Delaware State Parks. You may also wish to see Delaware Regulations : Administrative Code : Title 7 : 9000 : 9200 Operation and Maintenance Section for official regulations governing state parks. Section 13.0 covers regulations about UAVs.