Drones are quickly becoming an invaluable resource for teachers and researchers using the Duke Forest.  If you wish to pursue projects and activities that involve drone technology, please complete the following steps: 

  1. Submit and receive approval for drone use from Duke University administrators via this website: Drones at Duke You will be asked to indicate one of two approved drones areas in the Duke Forest.  Note: Blackwood Field is the primary drone location during the fall semester, but it is farther away from Duke’s main campus.  The Couch Field site becomes more widely available during all other seasons.  Indicate your preference on the form, and then work out details with the Office of the Duke Forest.       
  2. Once you have approval from Duke administration for your drone flight(s), complete a Duke Forest Teaching Registration or Research Registration if the flight will be conducted as part of an official teaching or research project (consult with ODF if unsure whether this step is required).  If the flight is for a one-off or ad-hoc purpose and you have successfully completed step 1, please skip down to the Flight Clearance Request form below.
  3. Once you have approval from ODF for your teaching or research activity that involves drone use, begin your project and give ODF 48-hrs advance notice via the form linked below for any planned drone flights if you did not provide these in the registration.  ODF will reply to each planned drone flight date as needed. 
  4. At all times, follow Duke University’s Drone Policy and Duke Forest’s conditions for teaching and research use.

Please note: Hobbyist drone use is not permitted within or above the Duke Forest without expressed, written, and exceptional permission. Please refer to Duke University’s Drone Policy.

Two Approved Drone Sites – Maps

Blackwood Division update 4/13/23:

Gate 34, at 600 Eubanks Rd, has been moved a few hundred feet EAST. The old entrance and access road has been obliterated. This change was made to improve road safety. The new entrance offers a much better view in both directions when pulling out onto Eubanks Rd, especially with trailers.

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