Tahoe Drone Rules Remain Murky

Jun 13, 2017

Drone use is on the rise in the Tahoe Basin, but the regulations remain murky for flying unmanned aircrafts on land owned by the U.S. Forest Service, along with state parks in Nevada and California. Our contributor Brook Bentley reports.

Restrictions on drone flying vary park by park in both the California and Nevada State Park systems.
Credit Courtesy of Brad Scott Visuals

There are some blanket rules across the U.S. about using drones. They include flying at or below 400 feet, staying at least 5 miles away from airports, and never flying near response efforts for emergencies like wildfires.

But within the Tahoe Basin, which has multiple jurisdictions, regulations vary on where you can fly your drone. And enforcement officials are struggling to keep the public informed.

For example, despite the vast number of aerial shots circulating on social media of Emerald Bay, flying drones there is prohibited. Matthew Green is with California State Parks and says that rule protects both the public and wildlife, including the osprey and bald eagles.

Over the past few years, there have also been dozens of instances in which drones have interfered with emergency efforts in the Tahoe area.

I'm Brook Bentley with Sierra Nevada Media Group, publisher of the Northern Nevada Business Weekly.