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Policies & Permits

Drone Usage Bylaws and Guidelines

Great Parks Bylaws for Drone Use

All of Great Parks of Hamilton County Bylaws can be found here.

131.16: Model Toys: Engine-powered, self-propelled radio controlled, or free sailing model and toy airplanes, rockets, boats, cars, sirens, or other noisemaking devices are not permitted to be operated within the park district, except in designated areas or with written permission of the Executive Director. Penalty, see § 130.99

131.17: Aircraft and Hot Air Balloons: No person shall voluntarily bring, land, or cause to descend, or alight upon or adjacent to park land or water, any helicopter, airplane, balloon, parachute, hang glider, or other apparatus for aviation, without specific written permission from the Executive Director. Penalty, see § 130.99

Great Parks Guidelines for Drone Usage

  • Those who want to fly within Great Parks must provide proof of an FAA registered drone, a current FAA license and insurance to cover flying a drone. They must also provide a timeframe they are wanted to fly, where they want to fly and why. We do not allow more than a month at a time to fly.
  • Once the required information is provided, special permission from Great Parks’ Executive Director must be obtained. This is a submission process handled through the Great Parks Marketing Communication Services Department. This process can take up to one week.
  • If signed permission if given by the Executive Director, a confirmation letter will be provided to the drone owner.
  • The drone owner MUST carry their FAA registration, license, proof of insurance and Great Parks’ confirmation letter with them AT ALL TIMES while flying within Great Parks.
  • The drone flyer MUST comply with all FAA policies, which include:
    • Fly at or below 400 feet and stay away from surrounding obstacles
    • Keep your UAS within sight
    • Never fly near other aircraft, especially near airports
    • Never fly over groups of people
    • Never fly over stadiums or sports events
    • Never fly near emergency response efforts such as fires
    • Never fly under the influence of drugs or alcohol
    • Understand airspace restrictions and requirements
  • The drone flyer MUST comply with all Great Parks policies including only flying in the parks within park hours, not intruding on guest’s visits and not flying the drone low around guests or animals.
  • Great Parks Rangers and staff have the right to approach the drone flyer with any concerns they may have. They also have the right to request the drone flyer to change location or ground the drone if they are not complying with Great Parks’ and/or FAA policies.

Questions about Great Parks bylaws and polices can be directed to Great Parks Marketing Communication Department at 513-521-7275 or email.
Metal Detector Policy
  1. Permits may be secured from any park district Ranger or at Ranger Headquarters. No fee involved.
  2. Areas restricted from metal detector use are park district golf courses, areas designated for horticultural use, all athletic fields, all areas closed to the public, historic sites such as Shaker or Indian sites, the following conservation areas - Kroger Hills, Newberry Wildlife Sanctuary, Richardson Forest Preserve, Trillium Trails Wildflower Preserve in Glenwood Gardens, Oak Glen Nature Preserve​, all state dedicated nature preserves and designated wildlife sanctuaries or wildlife management areas, or such areas where damage from probing may incur maintenance problems.
  3. Tools used for probing must be similar to a screwdriver or a digging trowel, with a blade length of no more than seven (7) inches, and a width of no more than two (2) inches.​
  4. Any area disturbed must be returned to its natural state.
  5. Use of metal detectors will be restricted to weekdays only during the months of April through October. Metal detectors may be used seven days a week November through March.
  6. Section 131.06 of the Hamilton County By‑Laws reads as follows: "No person shall injure, deface, disturb or befoul any part of the park district, nor any building, sign, equipment or other property found therein. No person shall remove, injure, or destroy any trees, shrubs, wildflowers or other plants, animals, fossils or minerals within the park district."
  7. Violation of any of the above will result in the revocation of users’ permit.
  8. Penalty for violations of Section 131.06 of the Great Parks of Hamilton County by-laws could result in a fine of up to $150 (first offense), or up to $1,000 (second offense).​​
Natural Resource Management Policy
December 2016The Board of Park Commissioners of Great Parks of Hamilton County recognizes that as plant and animal diversity has been impacted through land use changes in the region, there is need to preserve habitats which serve as reserves of the region’s natural heritage, as well as wild places for public enjoyment.

  • The highest priority of the park district will be in preserving land in its natural state. For this purpose, no less than 80% of all park land will be kept in its natural state and managed for the conservation of habitats and species native to our region. Examples include forest, wetland, prairie, meadow, brushland and water resources.
  • Development can comprise no more than 20% of all park land. Examples include recreational facilities and amenities, roads, buildings, paved trails, built infrastructure, turfgrass, and agriculture.
  • Great Parks of Hamilton County is the steward with ultimate responsibility for some of the most significant remnants of habitat in southwest Ohio. Given the scarcity of these habitats, proposed development in parks and preserves that impact natural areas requires study of the impacts and approval of the Executive Director, or inclusion in an approved comprehensive master plan.
  • Collection and/or removal of natural materials or wildlife from parks or preserves is prohibited, except in the cases of approved scientific research, vegetation management or wildlife management by staff or contractors of Great Parks of Hamilton County. Collection of plants or animals as part of a research project by an outside entity may be requested, and will be evaluated as part of a permit issued by the Executive Director, or designate.
  • The principal of sustainability is a guiding value of Great Parks of Hamilton County. It creates and maintains conditions under which people and nature can exist in productive harmony. Great Parks will evaluate, test and implement proven methods and technologies to produce measurable ecological benefits. Areas of continuous improvement include, but are not limited, to reducing energy use, reducing waste and maximizing the ecological benefits of park land.
Photography Policy
Private, educational and commercial photographers are all required to complete a photography application. A photo permit fee does apply to commercial photography. Any “props” that may resemble a weapon must be indicated on application. Group Motor Vehicle Permits are available for larger groups (call for price).

Private & Educational Photography Application Commercial Photography Application
Types of Photography
Private Photography: Photographers hired for private use, such as wedding or senior class photographs, are not considered commercial photography and are not required to pay fees. You are required to fill out a photography application. Any “props” that may resemble a weapon must be indicated on application.

Educational Photography: Educational class projects, verified by the school's department head, are not required to pay fees. These groups are still required to complete a photography application. Any “props” that may resemble a weapon must be indicated on application.

Commercial Photography: A photography studio, production company, advertising/publicity firm or filming crew hired by a client to create a product for profit, are required to fill out a photography application, pay a photo permit fee and provide a Certificate of Insurance. Any “props” that may resemble a weapon must be indicated on application.

Commercial Photography Fees
  • Still photography: $125 per day, per location
  • Videography: $250 per day, per location

Reservation/User Fees
Commercial photographers, who wish to reserve a specific park area or use a park feature, must pay the same reservation fees as park visitors (example: golf tee time, reservable picnic shelter, etc.) Reservation fees vary.

Payment Options
Photo permit fees and reservation/user fees must be made at least five days prior to the date of filming. We accept Visa, Mastercard and American Express. You can make checks payable to: Great Parks of Hamilton County, 10245 Winton Road, Cincinnati, Ohio 45231 Attn: photo permit. Reservation/user fees will be made to the specific facility requested.

Refunds Policy
No refunds will be issued for photography cancellations. If a cancellation is necessary due to inclement weather, a new date may be scheduled.

Certificate of Insurance
Commercial photographers must file a Certificate of Insurance in the amount of $1 million for general liability with Great Parks of Hamilton County named as the Additionally Insured. Please email Certificate of Insurance to kwhitton@greatparks.org, fax to 513-521-2606 or mail it to: Great Parks of Hamilton County, 10245 Winton Road, Cincinnati, Ohio, 45231 Attn: Kimberly Whitton.

Security Options
Security can be provided by the Great Parks of Hamilton County Rangers at their current hourly rate (please inquire about rate) with a minimum 48-hour notice. Outside security companies are not permitted. Please contact the Ranger Chief or Captain at 513-521-3980 for additional information and requirements.

Regulations for All Photographers
The photography policy is nontransferable and must be in possession on the site during shoot. All Great Parks of Hamilton County by-laws must be followed. The holder of the photography policy is liable for any damage to park property. No vehicles are permitted on grass, sidewalks or other park areas not designated as vehicle parking areas, unless authorized by the Park Manager prior to the shoot.

No photography is permitted in nature/wildlife management areas or areas not open to the public. Any misuse of park property or failure to comply with Great Parks of Hamilton County photography regulations will result in revocation of photography permit and expulsion from the property. Any use of a “prop” that could resemble a weapon must be indicated on the application and will require Great Parks Executive Director written authorization. Park visitors are not to be prevented from using park facilities and amenities as a result of the shoot. Photos or films must not include any park visitors without their prior permission. The Great Parks of Hamilton County, its parks, facilities and signs are not to be identifiable in final product of commercial photography. It should be clearly understood that the Great Parks of Hamilton County in no way endorses any product or service connected with commercial photography.

A valid Motor Vehicle Permit is required to enter the parks. Cost for residents of Hamilton County: $10 annual/$3 daily; other visitors: $14 annual/$5 daily. Otto Armleder Memorial Park and Fernbank Park are cooperative ventures with the City of Cincinnati; a Motor Vehicle Permit is not required.​
Privacy Policy
Great Parks of Hamilton County’s mission is to preserve and protect natural resources and to provide outdoor recreation and education in order to enhance the quality of life for present and future generations.

Great Parks of Hamilton County is dedicated to the fundamentals of protecting consumer privacy on the Internet. Our privacy practices for our website, greatparks.org, are based upon guidelines established by the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) and Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act (CAN-SPAM).

Does greatparks.org and Great Parks of Hamilton County collect personal information from site visitors?
Great Parks of Hamilton County collects personal information from our visitors only on a voluntary basis. We do not require this information for customers to obtain access to our site. However, in order to register for some of the programs offered on the Great Parks of Hamilton County website, or to make merchandise purchases, you may have to provide personal information such as name, address, phone number and email so we may contact you with program confirmation, as well as credit card information to complete a financial transaction. Credit card information is destroyed after the program takes place or the merchandise has been shipped.

Occasionally, we may also ask for personal information (such as age, ZIP code or which parks you visit) for our own internal marketing use. You may provide this information on a voluntary basis. If you provide this information to Great Parks of Hamilton County, we will maintain your privacy and will not sell, rent or share this information with third parties. Only those people who ask to be added to our enewsletter list or who ask for information from us will receive emails. We also offer an “unsubscribe” feature that allows you to discontinue email communications from Great Parks of Hamilton County at any time.

How does the park district use “cookies?”
Great Parks of Hamilton County may use “cookie” technology to obtain non-personal information from its online visitors. Cookies are information files that your web browser places on your computer when you visit a website. Most browsers accept cookies automatically, but can be configured not to accept them or to indicate when a cookie is being sent. We do not extract personal information in this process nor do we provide this information to third parties. We also do not contact you. Cookies allow us to customize your user interface to speed up the navigation process and to make the site experience more efficient. If your browser is configured to reject cookies, you may not be able to utilize some features of the Great Parks of Hamilton County website.

The Great Parks of Hamilton County website may contain links to other appropriate sites for similar conservation and outdoor recreation organizations. The privacy and data collection practices on any linked websites are entirely separate from Great Parks of Hamilton County and are not covered by this Privacy Policy. Great Parks of Hamilton County shall not be responsible for any failure on the part of any linked websites to comply with any privacy policy posted on the website, or any contractual or other legal obligations to which the operators of such website may be subject. Conversely, other websites, which may contain material not suitable for children, may also link to the Great Parks of Hamilton County website without our knowledge or consent. Great Parks of Hamilton County has no responsibility for the content, policies or actions of these websites.

How do I contact the Great Parks of Hamilton County with additional website privacy questions?
If you have any questions about Great Parks of Hamilton County online privacy policies or procedures, please contact our Administrative Offices at 10245 Winton Road, Cincinnati, Ohio, 45231 or via email.
Public Wi-Fi Terms and Conditions of Service
Terms and Conditions of Service
By using Great Parks of Hamilton County Public Wi-Fi Internet Service, you agree to be bound by the following terms and conditions which are a binding agreement between you and GREAT PARKS OF HAMILTON COUNTY and the bandwidth (“host”). The Service is a free public service provided by Great Parks of Hamilton County and its Hosts who provide Nodes and bandwidth ("Hosts"). Your access to the Service is completely at the discretion of Great Parks of Hamilton County, and your access to the Service may be blocked, suspended or terminated at any time for any reason including, but not limited to, violation of this Agreement, actions that may lead to liability for Great Parks of Hamilton County or its Hosts, disruption of access to other Users or networks and violation of applicable laws or regulations. Great Parks of Hamilton County may revise this Agreement at any time. By logging on to the system, you accept this Agreement and it is your responsibility to review it for any changes each time.

Personal Use Only
You may use the Service provided to you by Great Parks of Hamilton County for the sole purpose of accessing the Internet. Great Parks of Hamilton County has and accepts no obligation to monitor your use of the Service nor edit or censor content transmitted (via email, downloading, uploading, posting, or otherwise) through the Service. Your access to the Service is conditioned on legal and appropriate use of the Service. Your use of the Service and any activities conducted online through the Service shall not violate any applicable law or regulation or the rights of Great Parks of Hamilton County, its Hosts or any third party.

The use of the Service for improper activities is prohibited and include without limitation:

Spamming and Invasion of Privacy. Sending of unsolicited bulk and/or commercial messages over the Internet using the Service or using the Service for activities that invade another's privacy.

Intellectual Property Right Violations. Engaging in any activity that infringes or misappropriates the intellectual property rights of others, including patents, copyrights, trademarks, service marks, trade secrets or any other proprietary right of any third party.

Obscene or Indecent Speech or Materials. Using Great Parks of Hamilton County network to advertise, solicit, transmit, store, post, display or otherwise make available obscene or indecent images or other materials. Great Parks of Hamilton County will notify and fully cooperate with law enforcement if it becomes aware of any use of the Service in any connection with child pornography or the solicitation of sex with minors.

Defamatory or Abusive Language. Using the Service to transmit, post, upload or otherwise making available defamatory, harassing, abusive, or threatening material or language that encourages bodily harm, destruction of property or harasses another.

Forging of Headers. Forging or misrepresenting message headers, whether in whole or in part, to mask the originator of the message.

Hacking. Accessing illegally or without authorization computers, accounts, equipment or networks belonging to another party, or attempting to penetrate security measures of another system. This includes any activity that may be used as a precursor to an attempted system penetration, including, but not limited to, port scans, stealth scans or other information gathering activity.

Distribution of Internet Viruses, Trojan Horses or Other Destructive Activities. Distributing information regarding the creation of and sending Internet viruses, worms, Trojan Horses, pinging, flooding, mailbombing or denial of service attacks. Also, activities that disrupt the use of or interfere with the ability of others to effectively use the Node or any connected network, system, service or equipment.

Facilitating a Violation of this Agreement of Use. Advertising, transmitting or otherwise making available any software product, product, or service that is designed to violate this Agreement, which includes the facilitation of the means to spam, initiation of pinging, flooding, mailbombing, denial of service attacks and piracy of software.

Export Control Violations. The transfer of technology, software or other materials in violation of applicable export laws and regulations, including but not limited to the U.S. Export Administration Regulations and Executive Orders.

Other Illegal Activities. Using the Service in violation of applicable law and regulation, including, but not limited to, advertising, transmitting or otherwise making available ponzi schemes, pyramid schemes, fraudulently charging credit cards, pirating software or making fraudulent offers to sell or buy products, items, or services.

Resale. The sale, transfer or rental of the Service to customers, clients or other third parties, either directly or as part of a service or product created for resale.

You acknowledge (i) that the Service may be interrupted or contain errors; (ii) that viruses or other harmful applications may be available through the Service; (iii) that Great Parks of Hamilton County does not guarantee the security of the Service and that unauthorized third parties may access your computer or files or otherwise monitor your connection; (iv) that Great Parks of Hamilton County and its Hosts ability to provide the Service without charge is based on the limited warranty, disclaimer and limitation of liability specified in this Section and it would require a substantial charge if any of these provisions were unenforceable. THE SERVICE AND ANY PRODUCTS OR SERVICES PROVIDED ON OR IN CONNECTION WITH THE SERVICE ARE PROVIDED ON AN "AS IS", "AS AVAILABLE" BASIS WITHOUT WARRANTIES OF ANY KIND AND YOUR USE THEROF IS AT YOUR OWN RISK. ALL WARRANTIES, CONDITIONS, REPRESENTATIONS, INDEMNITIES AND GUARANTEES WITH RESPECT TO THE CONTENT OR SERVICE AND THE OPERATION, CAPACITY, SPEED, FUNCTIONALITY, QUALIFICATIONS, OR CAPABILITIES OF THE SERVICES, GOODS OR PERSONNEL RESOURCES PROVIDED HEREUNDER, WHETHER EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, ARISING BY LAW, CUSTOM, PRIOR ORAL OR WRITTEN STATEMENTS BY Great Parks of Hamilton County, OR OTHERWISE (INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO ANY WARRANTY OF SATISFACTORY QUALITY, MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR PARTICULAR PURPOSE, TITLE AND NON-INFRINGEMENT) ARE HEREBY OVERRIDDEN, EXCLUDED AND DISCLAIMED. SOME JURISDICTIONS DO NOT ALLOW THE EXCLUSION OF CERTAIN WARANTIES, SO THE ABOVE EXCLUSIONS MAY NOT APPLY TO YOU.

Limitation of Liability
UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES SHALL EITHER GREAT PARKS OF HAMILTON COUNTY OR ITS OFFICIALS, REPRESENTATIVES, EMPLOYEES, AGENTS OR AFFILIATES BE LIABLE FOR INCIDENTAL, CONSEQUENTIAL, INDIRECT, OR SPECIAL DAMAGES OF ANY NATURE, OR FOR ANY LOST REVENUES, LOST PROFITS OR LOSS OF BUSINESS REGARDLESS OF THE CAUSE AND WHETHER OR NOT FORESEEABLE. In addition, Great Parks of Hamilton County and its officials, representatives, employees, agents or affiliates will not be responsible for any damages, losses, expenses or costs that you suffer AS A RESULT OF: (i) any interruption or failure of the Services OR Products; (ii) the downloading or use of any information, data or materials obtained via the Services OR FROM THE Internet; (iii) any failure to complete a transaction on the Internet OR USING THE SERVICES or ANY loss of data due to delays, non-deliveries, mis-deliveries, or Service interruptions; (iv) ANYTHING BEYOND THE REASONABLE CONTROL OF Great Parks of Hamilton County, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO any interruption or failure of a third party’s services, software, equipment or network; (v) any unauthorized use or modification of Services or Products or combination of Services or Products with other services, products or equipment; (VI) viruses, worms, Trojan horses, or other undesirable data or software; or (vii) the attempt by unauthorized users (e.g., hackers) to obtain access to your data, website, computers, or networks.

You agree to indemnify and hold harmless Great Parks of Hamilton County, its Hosts, and their suppliers and licensors, officers, directors, employees, agents and affiliates from any claim, liability, loss, damage, cost, or expense (including, without limitation, reasonable attorney's fees) arising out of or related to your use of the Service, any materials downloaded or uploaded through the Service, any actions taken by you in connection with your use of the Service, any violation of any third party's rights or an violation of law or regulation, or any breach of this agreement. This Section will not be construed to limit or exclude any other claims or remedies that Great Parks of Hamilton County may assert under this Agreement or by law.

This Agreement shall not be construed as creating a partnership, joint venture, agency relationship or granting a franchise between the parties. This Agreement will be governed by and interpreted in accordance with Ohio law, excluding its conflict of law principles. Except as otherwise provided above, any waiver, amendment or other modification of this Agreement will not be effective unless in writing and signed by the party against whom enforcement is sought. If any provision of this Agreement is held to be unenforceable, in whole or in part, such holding will not affect the validity of the other provisions of this Agreement. Great Parks of Hamilton County performance of this Agreement is subject to existing laws and legal process, and nothing contained in this Agreement shall waive or impede Great Parks of Hamilton County’s right to comply with law enforcement requests or requirements relating to your use of this Service or information provided to or gathered by Great Parks of Hamilton County with respect to such use. This Agreement constitutes the complete and entire statement of all terms, conditions and representations of the agreement between you and Great Parks of Hamilton County with respect to its subject matter and supersedes all prior writings or understanding.

Acceptance of Agreement by Use
You acknowledge that you have read and understood, and you agree to, each of the provisions in this “Great Parks of Hamilton County Public Wi-Fi Terms and Conditions of Service” document, and you represent and warrant that you are of legal age and authorized to enter a binding agreement and to accept and agree to become bound by the terms of this document. The agreement applies to you and to anyone who uses the Service from your device. By initiating, activating or using the Service from your device, you will have been deemed to have accepted the current version of the provisions of this “Great Parks of Hamilton County Public Wi-Fi Terms and Conditions of Service” document. If you do not agree to the terms of this document, you may not use the Service from your device.
Slackline/Hammock Guidelines
  1. Trees must be a minimum of 12 inches in diameter to use as an anchor point. 
  2. Adequate protection shall be provided between tree and slacklines/hammock. 
  3. Trees cannot be altered in any way to allow slackline or hammock. 
  4. Slacklines/hammock shall not be placed more than 4 feet above the ground. 
  5. Slacklines/hammock shall be attached to trees only. 
  6. Slacklines /hammock shall not interfere with normal park activities. 
  7. Slacklines/hammock shall not be left unattended. 
  8. Slacklines/hammock shall not be within 30 feet of structures, roads, trails or playgrounds. 
  9. Slacklines/hammock shall not be attached to legacy/memorial trees. 
  10. Use area must have a clear flat natural surface. 
  11. Slacklines/hammock cannot be set up in special event zones. 
Users of slackline/hammocks will assume responsibility for any damage, injury or death while using slacklines/hammocks on Great Parks of Hamilton County property.
Trail Camera Guidelines
Great Parks of Hamilton County (GPHC) Trail Camera Guidelines
  • ​The purpose of trail camera placement is restricted to nature-related photography. 
  • Cameras are placed at the owner’s risk. 
  • Camera placement is prohibited in public use areas and areas closed for wildlife/habitat management. 
  • Cameras must be labelled with the name and phone number of the owner. 
  •  GPHC may restrict placement or remove cameras at its discretion. 
  • Camera placement must not cause damage which would violate bylaw § 131.06, below.

(A) No person shall injure, deface, disturb, or befoul any part of the park district, nor any building, sign, equipment, or other property found therein.
(B) No person shall remove, injure, or destroy any trees, shrubs, wildflowers or other plants, animals, fossils, or minerals within the park district.

Penalty for violations of Section 131.06 of the Great Parks of Hamilton County By-Laws could result in a fine of up to $150 for the first offense, or up to $1,000 for the second offense.