Scientific Research

Ninety Six National Historic Site Research Permitting Policy

It is the policy of the National Park Service (NPS) to guarantee that management of parks is enhanced by the highest quality scientific information. Understanding our natural and cultural resources is vital to improving park management and expanding scientific knowledge. Research will be allowed as long as it can be conducted in a manner that does not threaten or diminish the resources for which Ninety Six National Historic Site was established.

Research projects designed to advance the understanding of resources or systems that are considered to be a top priority to park managers are strongly encouraged, and we request that researchers contact the park Research Permitting Coordinator to gain assistance designing studies accordingly. However, "pure" research designed to advance broad scientific understanding is also recognized as potentially significant. As far as practicable, investigators are welcome to pursue their research in Ninety Six National Historic Site. Research topics may include:

  • Air Resources
  • Biological Resources
  • Climate
  • Cultural Resources
  • Environmental Quality
  • Geology and Soils
  • Geospatial
  • Inventory and Monitoring
  • Landscapes
  • Natural Sounds and Night Skies
  • Social Sciences
  • Water Resources

A Scientific Research and Collection Permit is required to conduct research in the park, and is approved by the Superintendent or his/her authorized representative. The following criteria are used to evaluate research proposals:

  • Is the proposed research in accordance with applicable laws, regulations, and federal administrative policies?
  • 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?
  • Is the proposed research important to the stated scientific resource management goals of the park?
  • Does the proposed research unreasonably disturb park resources or visitors?
  • Has the proposed research been peer-reviewed by recognized experts and recommended as scientifically valid? (copies of at least two peer-reviews must accompany the proposal)
  • Does the proposed research require additional state, federal, or local permits? Have those permits been obtained?
  • Does the proposed research require collection of specimens or artifacts? What will be the disposition of any collected specimens?
  • Does the proposed research encumber NPS resources that may be limited (e.g., government housing, equipment, or logistical support)?

This screening process is designed to ensure that park resources and visitors are not unduly affected by the research, that all investigators are treated fairly, and to allow appropriate tracking and reporting of park research. A researcher must be an official representative of a reputable scientific or educational institution or governmental agency. Students who propose to conduct research studies must have a representative from their institution or agency serve as either the Principal Investigator or a co-Principal Investigator.

The collection of certain wildlife specimens may require additional federal or state permits which can be obtained from the SC Department of Natural Resources or from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The examination, excavation, or removal of archaeological, historical, paleontological, or other artifacts requires additional federal permits. It is the responsibility of the researcher to apply for, obtain, and provide copies of all necessary permits to Ninety Six's Research Office prior to receiving a research and collection permit from Ninety Six National Historic Site.

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 National Park Service's cataloging system. Collecting of specimens not authorized on your permit or for private purposes is not allowed.

Researchers are required to report all results of their investigations to the park annually. Copies of final reports, papers, theses, or other publications relating to research findings in Ninety Six National Historic Site should be submitted to the park superintendent.

These materials will be filed in the park's Research Library and Archives where they are available to park resource managers, other researchers, and the public. Failure to abide by these terms, or others outlined in the Scientific Research and Collecting Permit, may result in permit revocation or a citation.

How To Apply

Every project must be reviewed to ensure that it satisfies regulatory requirements, is appropriate to the park setting, meets accepted scientific criteria, and does not unduly impact park resources or the visitor experience. Understanding Ninety Six's resources is vital to improving park management and expanding scientific knowledge.

To apply for a Scientific Research and Collection Permit, go to the National Park Service's Research Permit and Reporting System (RPRS) web page and submit the following:

Proposals submitted to other agencies and peer reviews received from that process may be photocopied and submitted in partial fulfillment of these requirements. Two Peer Reviews are required as part of the Ninety Six research permit application package. You may choose to use the peer review forms provided or submit your own.

Submit all paperwork as far in advance as possible to allow time for the review process, which can take up to 90 days.

Any direct assistance you might need from the park, such as logistical support or study site selection, should be requested with your permit application. Ninety Six's logistical support capabilities are quite limited and will be assigned according to management priorities.

Please contact the Permit Coordinator at 864-543-4068 for assistance and additional project information.

How Your Application is Processed

Once the online application, proposal, and peer reviews are received, they are checked for completeness and prepared for consideration by the Research Review Team by:

  • Composing a summary of the proposal
  • Addressing questions the Research Review Team might ask
  • Informing the appropriate park staff
  • Reviewing relevant compliance -- Section 106, National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), The Wilderness Act, and other relevant regulations
  • Evaluating impacts to cultural and natural resources

Following project review by the Research Review Team, the proposal will be either:

Approved – with or without stipulations (such as limiting the amount of sample collections or restricting entry into closed, restricted, or sensitive areas); or

Denied – A letter will be sent to the Principal Investigator with an explanation for denial.

Once Ninety Six National Historic Site approves a new research project and issues a research permit, an electronic copy (pdf) of the permit is emailed to the Principal Investigator (PI) for signature. Once signed by the PI, the signature page is to be returned to the Research Permit Office for the final signatory process. A copy of the completed signature page is then sent to the PI and the entire permit is to be carried with all research party members while conducting field work.

Additional Information

Guidelines on Information Deliverables

Museum Collection Requirements

Last updated: April 18, 2021

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

Ninety Six National Historic Site
1103 Hwy 248

Ninety Six, SC 29666


864 543-4068

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