Boulder County allows limited use of uncrewed aircraft systems for scientific research, operational monitoring, and agricultural uses on open space.
Uncrewed aircraft systems (UAS), also known as drones, are a helpful tool for natural resource monitoring and research. The policy gives staff the discretion to determine whether flights will be allowed on county open space.
The policy does not allow visitors to use UAS on open space. UAS usage by visitors is prohibited in accordance with the existing Rules and Regulations for county open space.
UAS Permit on Open Space
All UAS flights and operations on county open space must have an approved permit. Permits for drones filming or photographing commercial activities will not be considered.
To apply for a permit, please first read all instructions for the application. Applications will not be processed until all information and attachments are provided.
- A complete application form must be submitted at least 10 business days prior to the earliest proposed flight.
- A properly marked map of the proposed operating area. The map must include scale depictions of the flightline(s), takeoff and landing spots, and the location(s) of the pilot(s) UAV vision point(s).
- A copy of your FAA issued Remote Pilot Certificate.
- A minimum of one photograph of each aircraft that will be utilized.
- A safety pre/post flight checklist that is utilized during flight operations.
- UAS Permits will only be issued to the Pilot in Command. The permit application form and all insurance must be in the name of the Pilot in Command of the UAS.
- Permits for UAS operations require 10 business days to process. Please file your application as early as possible.
- Please be as detailed as possible when describing your proposed activities. Any UAS activity not included in your application will not be permitted.
- A formal permit must be approved and issued by Boulder County prior to any UAS flights. The permittee must have the approved permit on his/her person during UAS operations.
- There are no fees for an UAS Permit.
- Required Insurance limits are $1,000,000 Aviation/Aircraft Liability. Insurance must be submitted and approved by the Boulder County Risk Manager’s Office before a permit will be issued.
- Insurance certificates must show additional insured status as follows:
County of Boulder, State of Colorado, a Body Corporate and Politic is additional insured.
- All certificates of insurance will use the following certificate holder:
PO Box 471
Boulder, CO 80306
- Proof of insurance that is insufficient or inadequate will delay the issuance of a permit.
- The Pilot in Command must be a named insured on all insurance required for this permit.
Other Permits & Commercial Activities
- A Research Permit may also be required to conduct UAS flights.
- Permits will not be issued for any commercial activity such as
- Races or events
- Filming movies or commercials
- Guiding services
- Equipment demonstrations
- Permits issued by Boulder County for UAS flights only cover flights over properties listed in the permit. If the applicant intends to conduct flights over property belonging to another person or entity, it is the applicant’s responsibility to obtain any permission required from the other landowner/s.
- Flights on leased areas of Boulder County properties require approval from respective tenant/s.
- Flights originating on Boulder County properties that overfly adjacent private lands require the landowner(s) to be notified and proof of the notification, and compliance with any requirements of the landowner/s, provided to staff before flights may occur.
- UAS may not be operated from a waterborne vehicle or a land vehicle within Boulder County properties.
- UAS cannot be flown over people nor can a UAS be flown in a manner that is careless or reckless
- If required, a permittee may be required to post signs notifying park visitors of UAS activities a minimum one (1) hour before the earliest flight.
- The permittee must have the approved permit on his/her person during UAS operations.
- Permittee shall notify staff of any canceled activities at least 24 hours before their schedule flight(s).
- Boulder County may require staff to accompany the permittee during flight activities.
- Permittees are required to submit Post Flight Logs and a Results Report. Boulder County holds the right to require the permittee’s raw data captured on BCPOS lands.
- Flying activities may not conflict with visitors’ use or experience in the park.
- Activities having the potential to significantly impact, alter, or damage park resources are prohibited.
- The following are prohibited:
- Altering, damaging, or removing vegetation
- Loud noises (60 decibels or higher)
- Harassment of wildlife and/or visitors
- The public shall be informed, at the permittee’s expense, of any unusual or long-term closure or delay expected due to UAS operations.
- UAS operations are not allowed on weekends and holidays.
- The applicant understands that a permit may be declined at Boulder County’s discretion and may not be issued for locations that are subject to intensive public use.
- Wildlife, natural, geological, and archaeological resources must not be harassed, disturbed or damaged during UAS flights. No materials, adhesives, paints, etc. may be used on any park resources. No devices may be driven into rocks, or cliff areas. Any damage to park resources may result in the permittee being financially and criminally responsible for damages and BCPOS may decline to issue UAS permits to the permittee in the future.
- Permittees are not permitted to conduct activities or have access to areas not generally accessible to the public unless specific written approval is granted by BCPOS.
- No flying will be permitted during park closures or when the National Weather Service issues a Red Flag Warning, Fire Weather Watch, High Wind Warning, or High Wind Watch for the area.
- Permittees must comply with all FAA rules and regulations for the use and operation of unmanned aircraft systems to include, but not limited to, CFR Part 107.
- UAS Permits are non-transferable and non-assignable. Any attempt to transfer or assign an issued permit shall cause immediate cancellation of the permit.
- Permittee agrees to be responsible and assumes liability for any wrongful or negligent acts and hold Boulder County harmless for any such liability.
- BCPOS reserves the right to suspend UAS activities if, in the opinion of staff, there appears to be abuse of or a likelihood of damage to any of the visitors, staff, wildlife, lands, equipment, or facilities.
Cancellation of Permit
The permittee, by signature of the application, agrees that BCPOS may cancel the permit for any of the following reasons:
- If there is clear danger to public health and safety.
- If, in the opinion of the BCPOS representative, the UAS activity requested represents an unreasonable threat to park visitors, staff, facilities, wildlife, or natural, agricultural, and cultural resources.
- If the proposed activity would unduly conflict with visitors’ normal use of BCPOS open space.
- If the permittee enters areas closed to the general visiting public, or allow activities not permitted to the average visitor except for cooperative activities as a BCPOS representative
- This permit may also be cancelled by Boulder County without notice if the terms of the permit are violated.
- The deliberate making of false or misleading statements concerning intended actions to obtain a permit are causes for immediate cancellation.