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Remote Controlled Aircraft Permit

State parks allows the use of remote-controlled aircraft, also known as drones or unmanned aircraft systems, on a limited basis. Permits are required for each instance of use.

Washington State Parks may allow the use of remote-controlled aircraft, also known as drones or unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) on a limited basis. To ensure the comfort and safety of park visitors and protection of state park cultural and natural resources a permit is required.

Obtain a permit

For more information or to submit an application, start by contacting the park where you want to fly. For adequate processing time, submit your permit application to the park 60 days or more prior to the date you plan to fly your remote-controlled aircraft. Get the Remote Controlled Aircraft Permit (PDF, 672KB) here

A non-refundable application fee of $25 is due upon submission of a permit. Additional fees may be assessed.

Permit evaluation

The following factors will be considered when evaluating your permit request:

  • Public safety
  • Federal Aeronautics Administration (FAA) regulations
  • 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 Washington: $1,000,000 per occurrence, $2,000,000 aggregate. Insurance must specifically cover the use of drone and ground based activities, which typically requires two separate policies.

Use of remote controlled aircraft for filming and professional photography

When requesting to use a remote-controlled aircraft for filming or still photography, a film permit is also required, which can be done using he same application as the flight permit. If taking pictures for personal use only, no additional permit is required.

If collecting images for professional or commercial purposes, or they may be used for such purposes in the future, fill out the sections regarding filming on the application as the flight permit and only include the fee for the film permit.

When flying a drone for a professional/commercial photography purpose, provide the following:

  • Commercial UAS license
  • Flight Plan
  • FAA Authorization if in a restricted space, check B4UFLY and provide approved authorization.
  • Insurance coverage required by the State of Washington: $1,000,000 per occurrence, $2,000,000 aggregate. Insurance must specifically cover the use of drones.

Professional/Commercial photography purpose definition: When an individual or organization films and/or takes still photographin a state park and sells or otherwise uses the imagery for economic gain, including, but not limited to marketing on web pages, in print (such as in catalogs, postcards, or calendars), or other promotional materials using imagery collected within the State Park boundaries.

For more information on filming in state parks, please visit the filming and photography permit webpage

Rules regarding remote controlled aircrafts in state parks

The use of remote-controlled aircraft is regulated within State Parks by WAC 352-32-130 (5) and WAC 352.37.170 (3), which allows for the flying of remote-controlled aircraft with written permission of the director or designee. Remote controlled aircraft may be permitted on a single occurrence or limited duration basis with written permission from the director or designee. The request may be for recreational or commercial purposes, and permittees are required to comply with all state and federal rules and regulations, including the Federal Aviation Administration guidelines on use of drones.

The use of remote-controlled aircraft also is regulated by the Federal Government. The two most relevant rules are Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulation (14 CFR) Part 107 and Public Law 112-95, Section 336 Special Rules for Model Aircraft.

Contact information

To apply for permits, contact the park where the activities will occur. Visit the park's webpage to find addresses, emails and phone numbers. (“sending” in the COI and money before speaking with the park is not the best practice. The applicant should speak to staff first.) 

If you need additional information or are unable to use the provided links, contact the following locations for assistance or to request a printed application packet.

For more information regarding state permitting requirements, contact the Governor's Office of Regulatory Innovation and Assistance (ORIA).