Conducting Research in Gates of the Arctic

Research Permitting

Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve welcomes research projects designed to enhance the understanding of resources or systems for the purposes of park management and the advancement of broad scientific understanding. A Scientific Research and Collection Permit is required to conduct research on all National Park Service (NPS) lands.

Researchers are encouraged to contact the park research coordinator early to discuss proposed work and streamline the permitting process.


Research permit application deadlines are as follows:
  • March 31 for projects starting between May 1 and August 31
  • 60 days in advance for projects starting between September 1 and April 30

To Apply

1. Submit your proposal to the online NPS Research and Permit and Reporting System at This site requires you to enter basic information regarding your project. Upload a study plan to accompany the online application.
Note that large documents may be difficult to load, so it is best to remove unnecessarily large images, or simply break up the study plan into two or three smaller files. Researchers without access to the internet can contact the park research coordinator for an application form.
2. Complete a short questionnaire describing proposed field operations and email it to the preserve research coordinator.

Application Review Process

The review process is designed to ensure that park resources and values, as well as other park users, are not unduly affected by the proposed research. In addition, we strive for consistency, equity, and fairness in our evaluation. Proposals for "internal" research (conducted by NPS employees) undergo the same review process. An interdisciplinary team will evaluate applications to determine potential impacts in several areas, including: natural resources (NEPA), cultural resources (NHPA Section 106, ARPA, NAGPRA), subsistence resources and/or activities (ANILCA Section 810), Wilderness (Section 4(c) of the 1964 Wilderness Act, with Minimum Requirement/Minimum Tool determination) and the Endangered Species Act (Section 7), among others.
Map of Gates of the Arctic National Park & Preserve depicting area of eligible Wilderness designation
Click map to view larger version

Additional Information

Drone Use

Launching, landing, or operating of drones (i.e., unmanned aircraft) from or on lands and waters administered by the National Park Service is prohibited except as approved in writing by the superintendent.


Much of Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve is designated wilderness. Lands that are not currently in designated wilderness are eligible for wilderness designation in the future (see map). Special management considerations apply to all designated and eligible wilderness lands and affect approval of transportation methods, field work timing and frequency, group size and the use of mechanized or motorized tools.

Tips on Planning Research in Wilderness
• Early communication is the single best way to ensure project success. We encourage researchers to contact the park to discuss and develop research projects that are consistent with wilderness regulations.
• When completing your permit application, explain why the research needs to be accomplished in the wilderness rather than outside the park or in non-wilderness areas. Does the research benefit wilderness or the management of wilderness areas?
• When completing your permit application, consider whether your research may impact wilderness values and describe how you can minimize those impacts.
• Plan to use the least intrusive tools, equipment, and practices to accomplish your research.
• Understand and articulate the scientific and management value of your research.
• Ground disturbance, collections, installations and helicopter use require additional compliance analysis; be prepared to explain your needs in detail and start the permit process as early as possible.
• Make sure you and your crews have the equipment, experience, and training to work in remote areas.

Helicopter Use

Helicopter use in wilderness requires supplementary compliance analysis to determine if the use is necessary and warranted.

Helicopter use is prohibited in the following areas within Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve during subsistence and/or sport hunting seasons:
• Anaktuvuk Pass Area (Okokmilaya River to Koyukuk River): July 15 – December 31
• Eastern Itkillik Preserve: August 8 – September 30
• Lower Alatna River: Aug 25 – October 1 and December 15 – April 15

Native Allotments & Private Inholdings

Numerous Native allotments and inholdings exist throughout National Park Service lands. Be aware that allotments are private land. A National Park Service (NPS) permit does not authorize access to or use of these lands. Researchers are responsible for: 1) knowing land ownership status of all lands within their study area, and 2) obtaining permission to access or use inholdings outside of NPS jurisdiction from respective owners. Furthermore, researchers are responsible for obtaining permission to access or use privately-owned Native Allotments through a 'revocable use permit' - a consultation process mediated through the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). The BLM website provides a useful tool for gathering provisional land status information.

Specimen Collection

All specimens collected within the park are the property of the NPS. Regardless of where the collections are stored, they must be properly accessioned and cataloged into the NPS cataloging system. Collection of specimens not specifically authorized on the permit or for private purposes is not allowed. Contact the park curator for additional information.

Other Permits

The collection of certain specimens may require additional federal or state permits. For example, to collect migratory birds, a Migratory Bird Permit must be obtained from the appropriate state natural resource agency or from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. It is the responsibility of the researcher to apply for and obtain all necessary non-NPS permits.

For More Information

Permit Coordinator
National Park Service
Fairbanks Administrative Center
4175 Geist Road, Fairbanks, Alaska 99709-3420
Email us.
Looking for a different kind of use permit? See the options below.

Special Use Permits

  1. Commercial Film and Photography

  2. Other Special Use Permits - a catch-all category including but not limited to activities such as special assemblies, athletic events or races, temporary access requests, first amendment activities, groups with 12 or more participants, etc.

Last updated: March 12, 2021

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101 Dunkel St.
Suite 110

Fairbanks, AK 99701



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