EASTHAM – Officials at the Cape Cod National Seashore have banned the use of unmanned aircraft, or drones, within the park’s boundaries.
The National Park Service issued an interim ban on drones in June to evaluate their impacts.
The moratorium on unmanned aircraft does not include the recreational use of electric-powered model aircraft.
Cape Cod National Seashore Superintendent George Price signed the latest version of the Superintendent’s Compendium.
It includes a ban of launching, landing, or operating an unmanned aircraft from or on lands and waters administered by the National Park Service within the boundaries of Cape Cod National Seashore, except as approved in writing by the superintendent.
The National Park Service interim policy recognized that the use of unmanned aircraft constitutes a new park use that affects park resources, staff and visitors.
Until evaluations of this use are analyzed, the seashore will prohibit unmanned aircraft except as authorized, including research and administrative use, by the superintendent.
The Superintendent’s Compendium does include an exception to allow for the continued use of electric powered model aircraft when operated for purely recreational or hobby purposes and within the visual line of sight of the operator.
The electric powered model aircraft is, however, prohibited from containing a camera or any other recording device, and it cannot be operated within 200 meters of any area designated by signs as a “Closed – Bird Use Area”, or on swimming beaches when lifeguards are on duty.
Model aircraft may not disturb or harass wildlife or be operated in a reckless manner, and must avoid flying directly over people, vessels, vehicles, or structures, and must avoid endangering the life and property of others.
The prohibition of unmanned aircraft systems is one of the new entries to the 2014 Superintendent’s Compendium.
The other new items this year include the ban on smoking on protected swimming beaches when lifeguards are on duty and the prohibition of kiteboarding on ocean and bay waters between March 15 and October 15.