Obtaining a Research Permit

Permit Requirement & Timeline

A Scientific Research and Collection Permit is required to conduct research on all National Park Service lands.

  • For projects to take place during the summer season (May 15-Sept 15) submit your application/renewal by March 31st.
  • For research conducted outside the summer season submit your application/renewal a minimum of 3 months prior to your anticipated start date.

Permit Application Process

Submit your permit application or renewal to the NPS Research and Permit Reporting System. Be aware of the Curatorial Responsibilities of Researchers.

Key Points to Include in Your Application

  • ·Type of transportation you will be using within the boundaries of the park (wheeled plane, float plane, helicopter, boating, hiking, etc.). Where possible, estimate flight hours and number of landings.
  • Study site, field dates, number of days and people at each camp, and camp locations with information about your camp including how you will deal with human waste and trash. Where possible, provide the coordinates for study site and campsite locations.
  • Any type of motorized equipment that will be used (outboard motor, chainsaw, etc.)
  • Information regarding establishment of permanent plots or installations (size, location and type of marking)
  • Does your study require ground disturbance (i.e. digging).
  • Does your study require the collection of specimens? Will those specimens be destroyed in analysis? Learn more about collection of specimens.
  • Does your study involve conducting surveys or interviews? This requires additional clearance from the Office of Management and Budget, OMB. Learn more here.
  • If you are a graduate student please list your major advisor as a co-investigator.

Additional Useful Information for Putting Together Your Permit

1. Guide to Conducting Wilderness Research in Alaska’s National Parks
Portions Kobuk Valley National Park are designated Wilderness. In addition, most of the remaining lands comprising Western Arctic National Parklands are eligible for Wilderness designation. Management restrictions apply to all Wilderness and Wilderness eligible lands and affect approval of transportation methods, field work timing and frequency, group size and the use of mechanized or motorized tools.

2. NPS GIS Data and Information Clearinghouse
This site has all of the publicly available NPS GIS data which can be searched for by park. Most of our information will be found under the Alaska Region and under the park code "WEAR". Some information can be found under the "Alaska-wide themes". You can find airstrips, roads, conservation boundaries (Wilderness, Park, Preserve, etc.) and much more.

3. NPS Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC)
If your permit request includes handling of vertebrates, your project must be reviewed by the above committee.

4. Bureau of Land Management
Numerous Native allotments exist throughout Kobuk Valley National Park. Be aware that allotments are private land. An NPS permit does not authorize access to or use of these lands. The BLM website provides a useful tool for gathering provisional land status information. Researchers are responsible for 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' which is a consultation process mediated through the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). Allow 30-90 days to complete the process.


Application Review Process

Proposed projects will undergo compliance review by an interdisciplinary team (IDT) to assess the scientific integrity and appropriateness of research activities. The primary compliance requirements that must be addressed prior to project approval are:

  • is it necessary for this project to occur within the park and is the proposal in line with the NPS mission and the enabling legislation of the park (see applicable laws & policies)?
  • potential environmental impacts as required by the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA).
  • potential impacts to cultural resources and historic sites within the park as required by the National Historic Preservation Act of 2001 (NHPA, Section 106) and the Archeological Resources Protection Act of 1979 (ARPA).
  • potential impacts to subsistence activities or the resources upon which they depend as required by the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act, 1980 - ANILCA, Section 810.
  • potential impacts to Wilderness as required by the Wilderness Act of 1964.

The Research Coordinator at the park will contact you to clarify any details or alert you to problems that might arise. The coordinator will meet with the park compliance inter-disciplinary team and shepherd your proposal through the evaluation process. The coordinator will provide you with updates periodically and is the person ultimately responsible for issuing your permit. In general, you can expect this process to take up to 3 months.


Share Your Research with Us

If you are conducting research in the park, we want to hear the results of the work, stories from the field, or see pictures. The only way park managers can apply research results towards science-based management of the park is if those results are available. There is a multitude of ways to share your information (reports, posters, brown bag talks, seminars, guest lectures, brochures).

For more information please email or call the research coordinator.

Last updated: June 8, 2020

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Kotzebue, AK 99752


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