Unmanned Aerial Systems (Drones)

Unmanned aerial systems (UAS), also known as drones are regulated by rules promulgated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the State of New Jersey. In order to promote public safety for park visitors and residents, the Somerset County Park Commission has also developed a policy to limit to use of UAS within park property.

Operation (flying) of a UAS is prohibited on property maintained by the Park Commission except in areas set aside and designated for such purposes or with an approved  Park Commission Permit in adherence with FAA rules. The Park Commission has designated an area within North Branch Park as the Flying Field, which allows flying of recreational model aircraft and drones.  Specific regulations for this field have been developed in conjunction with the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) and the FAA.  Pilots of these aircrafts require an annual AMA card, an annual FAA registration card, and an annual Park Commission Flying Field Permit.  The Park Commission recognizes that these regulations may be more stringent than what the FAA requires.

The Park Commission shall consider other limited recreational use of UAS, on a case by case basis, and if approved, would issue a special permit.  Examples of these uses may include, but are not limited to, delineating a specific area within a park during a special event to demonstrate how a UAS works, and law enforcement, fire, and other emergency services training. All approved recreational permit holders shall be subject to the same Park Commission Flying Field Regulations, governed by the AMA and FAA, and shall also require insurance in an amount designated by the Park Commission, naming the County of Somerset and the Park Commission as additional insured.