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Drones, also known as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), are discouraged in Big Sur.  Unless you have explicit permission from a private, business, or government agency landowner to fly a drone over their property, you may be cited for trespass and other infractions.  

The regulatory environment concerning drones in Big Sur is changing rapidly.  Currently, regulations from local, state and federal agencies conflict with each other.  

First Responder agencies, including law enforcement and fire, use drones to assist in search and rescue, fires, and hazardous materials spills.  Visitors with drones, particularly those who are unfamiliar with the geography or their own equipment, may interfere with emergency operations.

Drone trespass across private property in Big Sur is endemic.  Voyeurism - drones taking still and video footage through the windows of private residences - is increasing as drones become ubiquitous and simple to operate.  

Suggestions for flying drones in Big Sur:

  • Obtain written permission from a private, business, or government agency land owner to fly a drone over their property

  • Do not fly your drone over a fence or any other indicator of a property line

  • If you crash your drone on private property, leave it there unless you have permission from the landowner to retrieve it

  • Leave your drone at home

Please respect the privacy of Big Sur residents in the same manner that you’d like us to respect your privacy.