Flying Drones in Our Parks?

The Fairfax County Park Authority (FCPA) Board is preparing a policy to address the flying of drones and other unmanned aircraft in the county’s parks.

On June 1, ASNV President Carl Kikuchi sent the Park Authority Board a letter recommending criteria for the policy and urging FCPA to consider certain conservation criteria in managing a grassy field in Laurel Hill Park.   See the letter here.

On June 15, William G. Bouie, Chairman of the Board, wrote ASNV, saying, “We are equally concerned with protecting the sensitive habitats and wildlife entrusted to our care.  As Fairfax County continues to grow, our mission of natural resource stewardship has become even more critical.”   

Chairman Bouie also outlined the process for approving the drone proposal as follows: "Any park sites considered for drone flights will still need to be evaluated in detail by our staff ecologists and other experts, and the public will be given an opportunity to comment on any site-specific proposals later this year."

The FCPA study team presented its findings to the Board on July 12, at the Herrity Building in Fairfax. Members of ASNV and the VA Bluebird Society attended the meeting.  ASNV briefly presented concerns about the impact of drones on wildlife and in particular their effect on Eastern Meadowlarks in Laurel Hill Park, the only reported nesting site for this species in Fairfax County.

ASNV's Advocacy Committee will continue to work on this issue. If you would like to become involved please contact Joanne Bauer.