The National Parks Service As A Science Agency

In this week’s edition of Science, the editorial covers the upcoming centennial of the National Parks Service (NPS) and how it has supported science.  Written by Editor-in-Chief Marcia McNutt and the science adviser to the National Park Service Gary Machlis, the editorial describes how the NPS has served as a field study location for researchers in many fields, and encourages scientists to continue to do so.

The NPS scientific apparatus includes a number of different tools, in a wider variety of fields than you might expect.  This likely isn’t news for ecologists or researchers in related fields, but I think the NPS centennial could be a wonderful opportunity to help demonstrate that science and technology matter to many different government agencies.

I want to close by re-emphasizing some of the recommendations in the editorial.  The research data generated in the park system should be as widely shared as practical.  Researchers should be encouraged to use parks sites for study, and this includes citizen scientists.  You can recreate and investigate in the National Parks.


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