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Science and the National Parks
Forest Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service); studies of the spotted owl (with U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management); and studies of exotic species management in Hawaii (with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service).
The most effective method of integrating research with other programs is through multiple year programming, combined with daily coordination of programs to allow continuous interaction among the officials involved. There is some danger of losing integration of programs where park scientists report to regional scientists, and some observers fear that research activities might become estranged from individual park needs. Far more difficult, however, is the integration of research programs with service programs, such as planning, design and construction, and interpretive design and production. For example, the geographic information system is a sophisticated data-gathering unit that is not fully exploited, and the computer systems in use in different areas are not compatible for transfer of data.
In theory, the NPS conducts research using its own staff scientists stationed in the parks, in science centers, and in regional offices; in cooperation with university scientists associated either with cooperative park study units or under other cooperative agreements; in cooperation with other government agencies; or through competitively negotiated contracts. In practice, only a few parks employ enough research scientists to have a research division or center on site. The South Florida Research Center in Everglades National Park Field Research Laboratory and the research divisions in Yellowstone and Glacier national parks are among the few examples. Some parks have one or two full-time employees dedicated to research, but most parks have no in-house research staff at all.
The Park Service maintains a smaller research staff than is found in most other federal land management agencies. For fiscal year (FY) 1987, NPS employed about 286 researchers and research administrators, or about 2.3 percent of its