The National Park Service (NPS) encourages appropriately reviewed natural resource studies whenever such studies are consistent with applicable laws and policies.Scientific natural resource collecting activities are governed by 36 CFR 2.5. A very limited number of other types of natural resource collecting are governed by 36 CFR 2.1.
Who needs a research permit?
Per National Park Service Management Policies, non-NPS studies, including data and specimen collection, require an NPS scientific research and collecting permit. The studies must conform to NPS policies and guidelines regarding the collection and publication of data, the conduct of studies, wilderness restrictions, and park-specific requirements identified in the terms and conditions of the permit. Non-NPS studies conducted in parks are not required to address specifically identified NPS management issues or information needs.
When Should I Get A Research Permit?
All research permit applications must be submitted at least 30 days in advance of planned field activities. Some permits may require longer to review and approve, so submitting 45-60 days in advance of fieldwork is advisable. Projects that may take longer to review include those that require permits from other agencies, work with vertebrates (which will require NPS IACUC approval), and research that requires review by experts outside of our park staff.
Research permits are authorized on a calendar year basis, starting when your permit is issued and expiring in December of that same year. After this date, your permit is no longer valid.
Renewing A Permit
Your permit may be renewed if your project needs additional time to be completed. Modifications or amendments to your originally proposed project must be submitted 30 days in advance of any fieldwork when you apply for a new permit. We recommend that you submit these changes when you are renewing your permit at the beginning of the calendar year.
How Do I Get A Research Permit?
After reviewing the this page, go to Research Permit and Reporting System to complete the application. There you will:
The RPRS also has frequently asked questions, links to other research-related websites, and links submit reports detailing the accomplishments of ongoing or completed research projects.
Terms and Conditions
You will also need to agree to uphold Acadia National Park-specific permit conditions. Breach of any of the terms of your permit or violation of park regulations will be grounds for revocation of your permit and denial of future permits.
If you are planning on collecting specimens as part of your field work, you must agree to additional terms and conditions regarding collections. Visit our Collecting Specimens page for a list of permit conditions.
What To Expect After You Apply For Your Permit?
Permit Review Process
Once you apply, the Science Coordinator will consult with park staff and outside subject-area experts to ensure that:
We may ask for supplemental information if necessary. We endeavor to treat all investigators fairly.
Once you are issued a research permit, the following reporting requirements will be required:
Annual Investigators Report
By March 31st of each calendar year, you are required to submit an Investigator's Annual Report (IAR) through the Research Permit and Reporting System whether or not you are renewing your permit. The IAR is an approved report form through which permit holders submit an annual report on the objectives and findings of their studies. A permit condition requires the permittee to submit an IAR for each year the permit is active.
In addition to the final IAR, when your research is complete you will upload a final report to RPRS within 90 days of the completion of your project including some metadata (title, authors, permits, abstract) and attach a document.
To inquire about a research permit, contact:
Science Information and Communications Manager
To inquire about a scientific report, contact:
(207) 288-8709 (fax)
To inquire about museum collections and park archives, contact:
For More InformationFor existing research reports, visit our Research Reports and Data Sets page.
For information on research across the National Park Service, visit the Explore Nature page.
For more information about our science partnerships, visit our Partners in Science page.
Last updated: May 26, 2022