Research conducted on lands managed by the National Park Service (NPS) is valuable to park managers, educators, and the larger scientific community. We appreciate your interest in working on these lands. The NPS Organic Act articulates that our "purpose is to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such a manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations." The following guidance helps ensure that research is conducted in a sensitive and safe manner that is mutually beneficial for all.
A Scientific Research and Collecting Permit is required to conduct research or collect specimens on all NPS lands. Researchers are encouraged to contact the research coordinator early in the planning process to discuss proposed work and streamline the permitting process.
The permitting process can take up to 90 days. Applications for summer field work should be submitted by March 31.
To aid in the preparation of a successful application, researchers should first review the following documents:
If your research requires exceptions or special conditions to any of the above documents, please ensure that you communicate those needs with the research permit coordinator (see below).
Permit Application Process
Scientific Research and Collecting Permit Applications are submitted online through the Research Permit and Reporting System (RPRS). If you encounter difficulty uploading large documents, these files (proposals, maps, images, etc.) can be sent by email to the research permit coordinator. Researchers without access to the Internet can contact the park research coordinator for an application form.
Application Review Process
The review process is designed to ensure that park resources and users are not unduly affected by the proposed research. We will evaluate applications to determine potential impacts in several areas, including:
- Environmental resources as required under the 1969 National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA),
- Cultural resources as required under the 1966 National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA),
- Wilderness character as required under the 1964 Wilderness Act.
Including the following information in your research permit application will allow us to evaluate your research proposal:
- Will the proposed activity result in degradation of the values and purposes of the park?
- Could the proposed research be performed outside of the park?
- Does the proposed research require collection of specimens or artifacts? What will be the disposition of any collected specimens?
- Does the project involve digging or other ground disturbing activities?
- Is the proposed project in a designated or suitable Wilderness area? For more information, please refer to Wilderness Research in Alaska's National Parks.
- Does the application clearly describe mode(s) of transportation to be used within park boundaries (float plane, helicopter, etc.), camp and study site locations, use of motorized equipment (e.g., outboard motors, generator), and a plan for human waste and burnable trash?
- If fuel is to be stored onsite, are appropriate fuel handling, containment, and disposal procedures in place?
- What scientific equipment or other installations will be left in the park unit and for what length of time?
- Has the proposed research been peer-reviewed by recognized experts and recommended as scientifically valid?
- Does the proposed research require additional state, federal, or local permits? Have those permits been obtained and provided to the research permit coordinator?
Research Coordinator: Sharon Kim, 907-422-0546