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Research on State Parks and Forests

Research is a valid use of Pennsylvania state park and forest land that increases knowledge and provides benefits to society.

Pennsylvania state parks and state forests, with their diverse flora, fauna, and geology, offer many opportunities for scientific study.

DCNR has a long and successful history of cooperating with researchers and academic institutions, and the application of research results has kept DCNR among the leaders in public land management.

DCNR requires all requests to conduct scientific studies on state park or state forest land to be approved in order to:

  • Avoid overuse of resources
  • Minimize potential conflicts with management activities and/or preexisting studies
  • Minimize impact to visitors
  • Facilitate sharing of research observations and results, which may assist DCNR with future public land management decisions
  • Allocate staff time

This policy facilitates communication between the DCNR and researchers using informal agreements.

How to Request Research on State Park and Forest Lands

Those who wish to request to conduct research on state park and forest land should complete the Application to Conduct Research in Pennsylvania State Parks and Forests.

The initial request form includes the following information applicable to the project:

  • The name and mailing address of the principal investigator as well as a project title.
  • The names of all individuals involved in the study, including those who will be involved in collecting field data.
  • The names of any DCNR staff that will be involved in the project, including tasks and estimated time requirements.
  • The location of where the proposed study will occur.
  • The expected time frame of the study.
  • Any permits or other approvals required by federal, state, or local government agencies.
  • Copies of labels from any chemicals used in association with the project.

Research Request Review and Approval Process

Proposals are reviewed concurrently by field and central office management staff. Please allow up to four to six weeks for review.

Please note: The Bureaus of State Parks and/or Forestry may request additional information/clarification at their discretion, which may extend review times.

If the initial request is tentatively approved, researchers are required to sign a Conditions Acceptance Form, which will be emailed to you. Projects receive final approval when this form is signed and returned.