No more drones in Sacramento County regional parks

Sacramento County’s Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to immediately add drones to the list of “flying model airplanes” prohibited from the county’s regional parks.

“People who aren’t skilled in flying their aircraft can injure others,” said Michael Doane, chief ranger for county’s regional parks. “We are making this clear also to avoid conflicts between wildlife and humans.”

The ordinance had already prohibited flying model airplanes except in designated areas or by permit from the regional parks director. Tuesday’s amendment clears up an ambiguity of whether a drone can be categorized as a model airplane, Doane said.

Thomas Bartlett, CEO of Image in Flight, a drone photography service based in Rancho Cordova, worries that the amendment will impact his business and the public interest in flying drones. Image in Flight is the largest drone service in Northern California, Bartlett said; it has worked with Toyota and Golden 1 Center in the past.

“I sort of understand why they want to prohibit it, but this seems a bit excessive,” Bartlett said. “Sometimes there are events held in parks, so we are asked to work there. That will be a problem.”

First-time violators will receive a $50 fine followed by a $100 fine for a second offense. Additional violations will cost $250 each.

Walter Ko: 916-321-1436, @juntaeko