Just as a doctor checks a patient's vital signs - pulse, breathing, blood pressure - to monitor a patient's health, parks have vital signs that give an indication of the park's health. Voyageurs National Park is one of nine national park units in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Indiana that comprise the Great Lakes Inventory and Monitoring (I&M) Network.
The Great Lakes Inventory and Monitoring Network
The Inventory and Monitoring Program is part of the National Park Service's effort to improve park management through greater reliance on scientific knowledge. The Great Lakes Inventory and Monitoring Network is one of 32 I&M Networks across the United States. Network biologists work with park managers and others to implement long-term monitoring programs that individual park resource managers cannot undertake because of limited time, money, or staff. Network biologists and park resource managers identified 21 vital signs for Great Lakes Network parks. Many monitoring programs encompass more than one vital sign. Collecting, analyzing, and sharing the data we gain from these programs helps us "keep a finger on the pulse" of land, water, and wildlife in national parks like Voyageurs.