U.S. Forest Service, Tread Lightly! and AirMap Address Wilderness Drone Use


Working jointly with the United States Forest Service (USFS) and AirMap, national nonprofit Tread Lightly! has released new print public service announcements (PSAs) and launched a campaign to educate drone users about designated fly zones over public lands.

The new PSA reminds users that drones are classified as a form of “motorized equipment” by the USFS and are, therefore, prohibited in designated wilderness areas. The PSA also encourages safety and the use of drones only in designated fly zones. The PSA is the latest addition to a growing assortment of messages in the Respected Access is Open Access—Drones campaign.

“The Forest Service wilderness program wanted to develop these educational pieces to address the growing popularity of using drones on public land,” says Sandra Skrien, national wilderness program manager of USFS. “As the drone community grows, we want to take a leadership role in addressing important recreation issues to help minimize impact and protect wildlife.”

Along with the PSA, Tread Lightly! has partnered with AirMap to help drone operators find designated fly zones, as well as areas where drone use is restricted. With more than 250,000 registered users, AirMap helps drone operators plan and conduct flights in compliance with regulations.

“We are excited to partner with Tread Lightly! and address the safe and regulated use of drones over public lands through the AirMap for Drones application,” says Steve Willer, AirMap’s manager for territory sales in the Americas. “By informing drone operators about designated fly zones, we can help minimize impacts on wilderness and public lands.”

“Tread Lightly! is a positive resource for all public land users and managers,” adds Keith Gordon, executive director at Tread Lightly!. “We are striving to be at the forefront of emerging recreation issues so that users are aware and to stop impacts before they can even start. Thanks to support from groups like AirMap and the Forest Service, we can reach a broader audience and protect access to public land at the same time.”

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