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Science and the National Parks
couraged because its contributions to society in general are potentially great. Thus appropriate experimentation and research installations should be allowed. This will not jeopardize park resources as long as policies and regulations to guide the selection of permissible research are adhered to strictly. In fact, the designation of special research areas within parks could help ensure their scientific value.
As change throughout the world accelerates, as park data bases are developed, and field research facilities are expanded, the value of parks for science appreciates beyond measure. The national parks have not played a role in regional, national, and international science commensurate with their value.
SEPARATE FUNDING AND AUTONOMY
The National Park Service should revise its organizational structure to elevate and give substantial organizational and budgetary autonomy to the science program, which should include both the planning of research and the resources required to conduct a comprehensive program of natural and social science research. The program should be led by a person with a commitment to its objectives and a thorough understanding of the scientific process and research procedures.
Many of the deficiencies of the NPS science program have been caused by organizational difficulties, including the balkanization of the science programs in the 10 regions to the extent that there is little consistency or synergy among them. Quality control has been uneven, at best, and research plans and products are not routinely subjected to adequate peer review. Some of the strongest scientists in the external research community do not participate in the NPS science program, administrative processes designed to facilitate research (especially via extramural projects) have been cumbersome, and research policies and procedures have been inconsistent and frequently dependent on the predilections of individu-