The Southern Appalachians: The Perfect Place for Research
The Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center
NEWS: Evidence shows that the felt-soled waders are too difficult to adequately sterilize and can serve as a transport vehicle for propagules of invasive diatoms and other organisms. To reduce the risks of accidentally introducing invasive aquatic species, the park encourages anglers and researchers to use the new rubber/vibram soled wading boots and to follow good cleaning procedures (cleaning, sterilizing, and drying) of equipment prior to using park streams.
In 2000, the NPS initiated a program of Research Learning Centers, whose over-arching mission is to increase the effectiveness and communication of research and science results in the national parks through four common goals:
The Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center is hosted by Great Smoky Mountains National Park and serves the Smokies, the Blue Ridge Parkway, Obed Wild and Scenic River, and Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area. Parks can provide a variety of in-kind and logistical contributions to support research, including:
Research in NPS sites requires a permit. Review and approval of applications is dependent on the project scope and complexity but normally takes 2-4 weeks. Other state and federal agencies in the region may also require permits for work under their jurisdiction. Please click here for information about securing permits that may be appropriate for your work.
It is important that you follow best practices for keeping yourself and the park resources safe:
The National Park units supported by this site have research questions that they are especially interested in having addressed. Other research is encouraged that will support park management objectives or further scientific knowledge in the park, as long as the research is not deemed harmful to the park resources or to the enjoyment of the park visitors. View a list of current research permits in Great Smoky Mountains National Park (last updated 16 April, 2013).
Did You Know?
What lives in Great Smoky Mountains National Park? Although the question sounds simple, it is actually extremely complex. Right now scientists think that we only know about 17 percent of the plants and animals that live in the park, or about 17,000 species of a probable 100,000 different organisms.