History of the Continental Divide Research Learning Center
Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) was already established when the Organic Act of 1916 mandated the National Park Service (NPS) to conserve natural resources and provide recreational opportunities in national parks. The NPS has upheld this directive in RMNP for nearly 100 years.
Another act of congressional legislation created an additional "Call to Action" for the 21st century. The National Parks Omnibus Management Act of 1998 authorized national park leaders to incorporate scientific research into their natural resource programs. Science-informed management decisions and policies were seen as the future of the NPS.
In response, the NPS developed a "Natural Resource Challenge" initiative that established new Research Learning Centers (RLCs) around the nation. These centers enhance research success and communication in national parks.
The Continental Divide Research Learning Center (CDRLC) was among the first group of RLCs launched in 2000. Research had already been part of Rocky Mountain National Park for a century, so it became a clear choice for a new RLC home. CDRLC staff and RMNP facilities continue to advance resource stewardship in this high-elevation park through research and education.