There are two ways you can provide feedback:
Talking points for public feedback:
- OPRD needs to give the public an opportunity to review and comment on proposed drone take off and landing area maps for every State Park—not just a generic sample— before finalizing criteria and maps through formal rulemaking and adoption. This will ensure that local knowledge is integrated and reduce the potential for future conflicts.
- OPRD should require permits for all recreational drones use (not just for use in the Prohibited and Conditional areas), including a small permit fee to cover public costs.
- To better protect the birds and wildlife that park viewers enjoy watching, OPRD should prohibit drone use in the following two areas now listed as “conditional”:
- Areas where wildlife concentrate for migration, breeding, nesting, or wintering. Guidance in the Oregon Conservation Strategy
- Areas that contain critical habitat for state or federally protected species that are negatively affected by drones
- It should be assumed that areas that contain critical habitat for protected species may also contain the species themselves.
- Even within areas closed to drones, OPRD now includes small 2-acre + “islands” that allow for take off and landing. These smaller drone use areas will negate any protections for surrounding areas. OPRD should not allow small islands for drone use within larger prohibited and conditional zones.
- OPRD should aim to protect all birds and wildlife from harassment by drones, not just state or federal protected species
- OPRD should reassemble the stakeholder workgroup to review public feedback and adjust mapping criteria accordingly.
- For the long-term, OPRD needs to include in its drone policy a formal adaptive management plan, with adequate public participation, to allow adjustments to take-off and landing areas as new issues arise.
- Other states, such as Texas, Florida, and Arizona, simply ban drone use in their State Parks, as does the National Park Service. OPRD should continue to consider this option in Oregon as there are plenty of places in the state where recreational drones are already allowed. At a minimum, allow drone take off and landings at only a handful of parks per region to ensure there are sufficient spaces for park users to enjoy quiet recreation, including bird and wildlife viewing.
- When considering comments, OPRD should give greater weight to input from Oregonians versus out-of-state respondents organized by the drone user groups. Oregonians recreate in Parks every day of the year and are the people who pay for these parks.