The Southern Appalachians: The Perfect Place for Research
National Park Service
All research conducted on land administered by the National Park Service must be approved through the Research Permit and Reporting System. All applications must be made on-line and are made for individual parks. Research that involves multiple parks must involve multiple permit applications made to each of the parks involved, though you may cut and paste your information. NPS reviewers are charged with protecting the natural and cultural resources of their parks, protecting visitor experience, insuring that information returns to the park for its use, and following a number of federal regulations, so applications must be as clear as possible regarding methodology, project justification, and eventual disposition of the data, reports, and specimens (see attached guidelines for key points to address in your applications). Principle investigators for research permits are expected to submit annual progress reports online for the duration of their permits. Researchers who fail to submit these reports may not be granted renewed or new permits until they have complied with this requirement. NPS parks in our area include:
For renewing a permit for an existing study, Click on the hot link for "Submit applications for research permits" on the Research Permit and Reporting System web page. Click on "Continue Application Process." Enter your last name at the prompt. Select your name from any list that is presented. Your permit should be listed, along with a hot link for a renewal.
For scientific research, the researcher needs to apply for a special use permit at the appropriate ranger district within each forest. In the case of research across multiple districts and/or forests (for instance across both the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests), the permit may be handled in the Supervisor's Office in Asheville and may require the signature of the Forest Supervisor. A special use permit in wilderness areas requires the Forest Supervisor's signature. If the permit involves the removal of plant parts (voucher specimens, seeds, leaves, etc) the permit will need to be processed as a botanical product. The Forests request copies of any publication, thesis, or report that results from data from the National Forests.
National Forests in our area include:
Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians:
For those wishing to conduct scientific research on tribal land, all permitting decisions are made on a case by case basis by the Department of Natural Resource and Construction or the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife Management, as appropriate to the proposal. Please provide a short summary of your proposed research that addresses all relevant points on the attached guidance PDF to Mr. Michael LaVoie to begin the process. You are also encouraged to send your proposal to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park Resource Coordinator if you see a connection between your work and the resources of Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Blue Ridge Parkway. For more information on some of the research interests and opportunities on tribal lands, please see the second attached PDF.
Did You Know?
An experimental program to reintroduce elk to the park was begun in 2001. Elk once roamed the Smokies, but were eliminated from the region in the mid 1800s by over-hunting and loss of habitat. Other animals successfully reintroduced to the park include river otters and barn owls. More...