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Prohibition on the Use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) on Federal Lands under the Jurisdiction of the New England District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Published March 27, 2018

CONCORD, Mass. – The use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), such as drones, are prohibited on or above federal lands and waters managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District. This prohibition applies regardless of the location of the operator.

Federal Aviation Administration definitions: An unmanned aircraft is a component of a UAS. It is defined by statute as an aircraft that is operated without the possibility of direct human intervention from within or on the aircraft (Public Law 112-95, Section 331(8)).

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Regulations 36 CFR 327.4b states: “operation of aircraft on project lands at other than those designated by the District Commander is prohibited.” Persons found in violation of these regulations may be subject to criminal or civil penalties pursuant to 36 C.F.R 327.25.

No areas within the New England District’s jurisdiction, including recreation sites, dams, reservoirs and the Cape Cod Canal, have been designated for drone use by the District Commander. This also includes lands under lease agreements with a third parties, such as camp grounds and certain recreation areas. Any other UASs that are operating within New England District’s jurisdiction have been specifically approved by the District Commander.

Why are there no designated areas for drone operation within the New England District’s jurisdiction?

Safety – Drones pose a potential hazard to visitors due to malfunction or negligent operation.
Security – Drones could be used criminally against visitors or critical infrastructure.
Visitor experience – Drone noise and movements could pose a nuisance or privacy concern, and negatively impact the experience of other visitors.

There are many other opportunities to enjoy recreation at federal reservoirs and the Cape Cod Canal in New England. Most areas feature small lakes with facilities designed for day use such as picnicking, swimming, boating, fishing and hunting. A few facilities have overnight camping.

Most Army Corps-managed recreation areas are open from Memorial Day weekend through mid-September. Beaches and boat ramps are available at many reservoirs in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire and Vermont. For details visit the District web site at www.nae.usace.army.mil  and select “recreation” and then your state and nearest location on the map.

Tim Dugan

Release no. 18-025