National parks preserve natural and cultural resources. The RLCs focus on the science and research related to those resources. They have a two-part role: supporting research in parks and communicating about it with many audiences.
The first RLCs were created in 1999-2001 through the NPS’s Natural Resource Challenge–a Congressionally-funded initiative to strengthen science in national parks. Additional RLCs have been created since then through a variety of creative partnerships and funding sources. Today, there are 17 RLCs that support and communicate research in dozens of parks.
To provide the greatest value, RLCs have adapted to the unique needs and opportunities for science in the parks they serve. Their growth and refinement even today helps fill a fundamental need for park research, science-informed management, and a diverse public’s engagement with science and stewardship.
Last updated: February 17, 2022