Specific calls for science are included in the enabling legislation for several individual parks. Examples include Redwood National Park, where restoration activities are required to be based on sound science; Channel Islands National Park, where the long-term effects of adjacent kelp harvesting must be monitored; and Everglades National Park, where the NPS is required to study the fisheries of the Florida Bay. There also are national laws that either state or imply the need for adequate scientific and technical knowledge to address the kinds of actions required. Among the most important are the Lacey Act (1900), Historic Sites Act (1935), the Wilderness Act (1964), the Concessions Policy Act (1965), the National Environmental Policy Act (1969), the Endangered Species Act (1973), and the Clean Air Act (1977). In addition, international programs in which NPS participates also have helped define the scope of NPS science, including the Man and the Biosphere and the World Heritage programs (Franklin, 1985).
Despite these periodic calls for science, the most critical foundation for science in the parks is missing: Although the Organic Act of 1916 implies the need for science in the national parks, it does not provide an explicit legislative mandate. The absence of an explicit legislative mandate has allowed uncertainty about the importance and the role of science in the parks. A new mandate for science is long overdue.
The committee was not charged or constituted to write specific legislation to establish a new mandate for science in the parks, but its vision for a strengthened NPS science program includes the following elements:
A science program that is organizationally equivalent to park operations, with its own funds in a separate line item budget, to support a comprehensive program of natural and social science.
Areas in the national park system designed and managed as protected repositories of biological diversity at the genetic, species, and ecosystem levels.
Broad use of parks as research sites, with expanded opportunities for experimentation and research installations, and as monitoring posts to detect and evaluate changes in environmental quality, plant and animal communities, and