Tread Lightly! Launches Campaign to Address Recreational Drone Issues


Tread Lightly!

CENTERVILLE, Utah -( Tread Lightly! today launched a public awareness campaign with the U.S. Forest Service to promote responsible use of unmanned aircraft systems, also called drones.

The campaign includes public service announcements, a dedicated web page, billboards and digital media.

The awareness campaign falls under Tread Lightly!’s Respected Access is Open Access program that addresses outdoor recreation issues and helps to educate people about responsible use to protect and enhance public land access.

“There are lots of great places for the public to fly drones on lands managed by the Forest Service and other public lands, but over or near wildfires isn’t one of them,” said U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell. “Members of the public who fly drones over or near wildfires pose serious threats to the safety of firefighters, pilots and the effectiveness of wildfire suppression operations.”

Tidwell added, “Incorporating this message into the Tread Lightly! Campaign helps our efforts to get the word out and helps prevent tragic accidents and wildfires unduly threatening lives, property, and natural and cultural resources.”

This new messaging about drones piggybacks on the existing “If You Fly, We Can’t” messaging created to protect against the disruption of aerial firefighting operations. Other public service advertisements will address issues such as user conflict and privacy, wildlife impact, zoning, and special use permits.

“As drones grow in popularity, so does the need to educate on responsible use and best practices,” said Casey Snider, Interim Executive Director. “Our goal is to show how to use these aircrafts respectfully and thoughtfully. In the case of wildfire, proper use can save lives and property.”

For more information on this new campaign, visit their website.


About Tread Lightly!

Tread Lightly! is a national nonprofit organization with a mission to promote responsible recreation through ethics education and stewardship programs. Tread Lightly!’s educational message, along with its unique training and restoration initiatives are strategically designed to instill an ethic of responsibility in outdoor enthusiasts and the industries that serve them. The program is long-term in scope with a goal to balance the needs of the people who enjoy outdoor recreation with our need to maintain a healthy environment. Tread Lightly!’s award-winning materials, programs and services are solutions to some of the nation’s most pressing recreation issues.

Individuals and businesses can commit to Tread Lightly! and protect outdoor access by becoming a member on their website.


About the U.S. Forest Service:

The Forest Service, the largest agency in the U.S. Department of Agriculture, has a mission to sustain the health, diversity and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The agency manages 193 million acres of working forests and grasslands that contribute more than $13 billion to the economy each year through visitor spending alone.

Find out more on their website.

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this little schmooze piece lost me when they immediately use “interfering with fire fighting” and such things as a reason no one can fly drones anywhere. Duhhh how about waiting till there IS a fire being dealt with, then saying “don’t fly your drone in that area as it might interfere with firefighting activities:. There are already riles in place flying sport drones near other types of aircraft operations that take precedence. So this “warning’ is useless….. not only is this scenario an “almost never happens” event, it is already controlled by existing law. Typical gunnit wanting to extend their… Read more »


Am I not correct that you have to get a license from FFA to fly a drone? I remember that from a couple of years ago when drones became very popular Christmas presents. Does anyone know?


nothing required now. They tried… it got closed down, thank goodness.

There ARE restrictions as to altitude, proximity to certain types of areas, etc.

At prsent, registration of drones is also not an issue… they (FAA) wanted to do that, too (hey dey be gommint, dey gots ta control….) Some court somewhere showed how FAA have no authority over drones, they not being “aircraft”, and FAA only having jurisdiction over “aircraft”.

Nice decision, that….

Wild Bill

@Tio, The FAA is a regulatory agency All the FAA has to do is write a rule, and wait out the public comment period. It is only a matter of time. You can bet that the FAA rule will favor business and not individuals.


Tionico, thanks for your reply. I have seen several people flying them but did not know if they were “licensed pilots” or just people interested in flying. You can fly a model aircraft and I don’t think it requires a license or registration. The government didn’t get their hands in people’s pockets, that’s too bad. what are they going to do for their next raises.


Tomcat asked: Does one have to get a license from the FFA to legally fly a drone……?? I am an Academy of Model Aeronautics National Officer (Assoc. Vice Pres-AMA District VIII ) the answer Tomcat seeks is …NO, one does not have to have a license to fly or own a drone or any other type of ‘small model’ aerial vehicle. Although, it is strongly encouraged for ALL model aviation enthusiasts ..and drone pilot/owners to join the AMA, the national representative for model aviation in this country, since 1936. The Congress. has tried to bring and unite all aviation interests… Read more »

joe martin

If you liked the Ad Council (Government Propaganda machine), you’ll love Tread Lightly! (US Forest Service propaganda machine). Josef Goebbels would have killed to have had such power at his hands (and did).


I think that Tread Lightly! would have considerably more credibility if they were to do some research on the topic. There has been an organization in existance since 1936, the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA), that has developed time-proven safety rules governing the recreational use of model aircraft of ALL types. As a matter of fact, the AMA and jts members eere responsible for lobbying Congress to pass a law allowing this recreational use, and preventing the FAA from placing burdensome regulations on recreational use. Tread Lightly! is not doing something new or innovative, but rather ignoring the long record… Read more »

Wild Bill

Chasing deer and other wild life, to get pictures or view them, is also a reason to shoot down drones. I see no problem with the new sport of drone shooting.


So only you should be able to chase wildlife, not anyone else? If it is not interferi g with a hunt, it is no problem. If it is, report it. You can’t run into someone’s car just because they cut you off. Your method is a good way to get hunting further restricted for us all. Do hunting a favor – take up fishing.

Wild Bill

@JDL, I don’t know why you would presume that I would chase wildlife. It must be what is going on in your head. The rest of your post is a false analogy and insult unworthy of response.

Wild Bill

Oh, I forgot to mention that chasing wild life stresses them to death. There is little time to report it to some agency.

Heed the Call-up

JDL, and who would you report? A drone isn’t a legal entity, at least not yet, once it attains singularity, we can ascribe rights to it, but until then, if the drone operator can’t respect wildlife, we can’t respect his/her right to abuse animals, and immediately stopping the threat is warranted.