Request a Permit

The National Park Service (NPS) uses the web served Research Permit and Reporting System (RPRS) to administer scientific studies and collecting activities within units of the National Park System. The public uses the RPRS to learn about scientific studies in parks, to apply for NPS Scientific Research and Collecting Permits, and to report on their permitted scientific study.

The RPRS serves three documents: Application, Permit, and Investigator’s Annual Report.

  • The application is an OMB Paperwork Reduction Act approved form which permit applicants use to request permission to conduct scientific research activities in park unit(s).
  • The NPS Scientific Research and Collecting Permit is an agreement between an individual and the National Park Service. The agreement defines permissions to conduct scientific studies, and the permit holder’s obligations to the National Park Service.
  • The Investigators Annual Report (IAR) is an OMB PRA approved report form through which permit holders submit an annual report on the objectives and findings of their studies. A universal permit condition requires the permittee to submit an IAR for each year the permit is active.

Public Access and Investigator Accounts

The general public may access scientific study related information through the Investigator Annual Report (IAR) record, the park profile record, and the RPRS HELP page. All RPRS users may create an Investigator account in order to apply for NPS Scientific Research and Collecting Permits. Investigator accounts are protected through a credential procedure. Investigator account holders may draft and submit applications and IARs. Additional services allow investigators to assign agents access to their accounts, and transfer account data to another account, and submit study related materials to the Integrated Resource Management Applications (IRMA) Data Store. The IRMA Data Store is a service wide database; a web-based “one-stop” for park resource-related tools, data and information, including reports and other documents, data sets, species lists, visitor use statistics, and more.

Scientific Study Collections

Many scientific research activities involve collecting specimens that will be maintained permanently in appropriate NPS or non-NPS museum repositories. Some research results may generate progeny or derivatives that also will be maintained in repositories for living collections. For this reason park curators work closely with park permit coordinators and others to administer scientific research. The park profile includes a park curator email field allowing system notification to park curators so that the curators may have input throughout the process. If permit applicants propose, in their applications, that collections be permanently maintained at a non-NPS repository, they must complete Appendix A of the application found in our Researcher Resources for Specimen Collections section.

Park Administration of Scientific Research Studies

The RPRS provides additional services to facilitate NPS administration of scientific studies. Each park has an RPRS park account through which park staff may manage park permitting transactions. Staff granted access to the park account may issue permits, check in Investigator Annual Reports, and manage the park profile. The purpose of the park profile is to provide the public information on park contacts, park specific permit conditions, park research needs, and optional park bulletins.

Last updated: August 2, 2018