Skip to Main Content
Menu
Contact Us Search
Parks Title

FAQs - Scientific Research and Collecting on State Park System Lands

FAQ List

(Note: The links below work best with Internet Explorer)
What kinds of activities require a California State Park scientific research and collecting permit?
How long will it take to process my application for a permit?
Where do I send my application?
Who reviews my application?
My research plans and/or personnel have changed. How do I amend an existing permit?
How long is a permit valid for?
How do I renew a permit?
Why do I have to specify precise study locations on my application?
Where can I find maps or GIS layers of California State Park units?
What documents should I submit with my permit application?
Can permit applications, supporting documents, and reports be submitted electronically?
What kinds of activities constitute “ground disturbance”?
Why is classroom collecting prohibited?
How do I determine what other state or federal permits may be required for my work?
What resources are available to assist me in planning my research in California State Parks?
Is there a fee for research permits issued by the California Department of Parks and Recreation?
What do I have to submit in the final report?
Who can I contact with additional questions?
What is the purpose of the new indemnity agreement language on page 5 of the application form?
Why are applicants required to provide proof of insurance?

 

Questions & Answers

What kinds of activities require a California State Park scientific research and collecting permit?
A scientific research and collecting permit is required for most scientific activities conducted within the California State Park System that pertain to natural resources including, but not limited to, field work, specimen collections, and the collection of data. If you intend to collect specimens, data and/or produce a written document of your findings, such as a dissertation, thesis, academic paper, report, or professional publication, then a permit is needed. Additional permits or approvals from other state or federal agencies may also be required. It is the responsibility of the researcher to know what permits are required by other local, state, and/or federal agencies and to obtain all needed permits before the California State Park scientific research and collecting permit will be approved.

Consult the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (fish and wildlife permits, plant permits), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for guidance.

How long will it take to process my application for a permit?
It is recommended that applications be submitted at least 60 days in advance of the first planned field activity. Depending on the nature of the work, review time may sometimes be longer. If your research involves ground or soil disturbance, sensitive resources, and/or work in areas with sensitive resources, California State Park resource specialists may need to survey your proposed study area in advance and/or be assigned to your project as a monitor.

Where do I send my application?
California State Parks are grouped regionally into districts. These administrative units will determine where you need to send your permit application. Consult this map to determine whether your proposed study area falls within a single park district, multiple park districts, or State Vehicular Recreation Areas (SVRAs) of the Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Division.

Single park district requests. Send applications to the appropriate district office.

SVRA-only requests. Send applications to the Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Division:

Attn: Environmental Program Manager
OHMVR Division Headquarters
California Department of Parks and Recreation
P.O. Box 942896
Sacramento, CA 94296-0001
(916) 324-4442
ohvinfo@parks.ca.gov
Multi-district or statewide requests. Send applications for "multi-district" or "statewide" permits to the Natural Resources Division:
Attn: Environmental Program Manager
Natural Resources Division
California Department of Parks and Recreation
P.O. Box 942896
Sacramento, CA 94296-0001
(916) 653-6725
nrd.research@parks.ca.gov
Who reviews my application?
Your application will be reviewed by knowledgeable California State Park staff at the district, OHMVR Division, and/or Natural Resources Division levels, as appropriate. It will be carefully evaluated to assess its anticipated merits (e.g., benefits to the State Park System, application to resource management, contributions to scientific knowledge) as well as its potential impacts on park resources, operations, and visitors.

My research plans and/or personnel have changed. How do I amend an existing permit?
Amendments can be processed by the California State Park District or Division office that issued your permit. For faster service, you may be able to contact the staff person who issued your permit directly by locating their contact information on your current permit. You should describe the changes needed to your permit in as much detail as possible so that staff can evaluate your amendment request.

How long is a permit valid for?
Permits may be issued for a maximum period of one year.

How do I renew a permit?
Permit renewals may be requested by submitting another application and following the same procedures. Be sure to enclose a summary report of activities completed and results obtained under the previous permit.

Why do I have to specify precise study locations on my application?
Precise locations are necessary to evaluate the potential impacts of your proposed research on park resources in the area. They are also important to ensure your project’s success, helping to: 1) prevent research projects undertaken by different investigators from interfering with each other and 2) avoid conflicts with park management activities and operations.

Where can I find maps or GIS layers of California State Park units?
California State Park boundary GIS layers are available for download, as is a map of California State Park units and districts. Additional external maps and resources that may be useful for project planning purposes include:

  MarineBIOS, California Department of Fish and Wildlife marine and coastal data viewer
  BIOS, California Department of Fish and Wildlife biogeographic information and observation system
  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Critical Habitat Portal
  California Department of Fish and Wildlife CNDDB maps and data
  Calflora, plant distribution maps and information

What documents should I submit with my permit application?
A complete application package includes:

> Completed, signed DPR 65 form
> Signed DPR 65A Optional Insurance Addendum (if requested by Permit Coordinator)
> Signed DPR 65B Optional Liability Waiver Addendum (if requested by Permit Coordinator)
> CV or resume for Principal Investigator
> CV or resume for person overseeing field work (if different from PI)
> Maps, coordinates, and/or GIS files of each distinct study location
> Full study proposal (see Study Proposal Guidelines for Research in California State Parks for essential components)
> Copies of any additional local, state, and/or federal permits required for your research
> A summary report of activities completed under your previous California State Park scientific research and collecting permit (permit renewals only)

This information is needed to evaluate the merits of your work as well as its potential impacts on park resources, operations, and visitors. Your application may be rejected or returned to you for revisions if it is deemed incomplete.

Can permit applications, supporting documents, and reports be submitted electronically?
Yes. However, if you plan to send documents by email, it is advisable to first confirm that you have a current, valid email address for the appropriate California State Park staff contact by phoning the appropriate district or division office. Scanned copies of the DPR 65 application form with original signatures may be submitted in lieu of hard copies. Electronic and digital signatures on the DPR 65 are also acceptable.

What kinds of activities constitute “ground disturbance”?
Placement of stakes, collection of soil cores, plant roots, and/or soil-dwelling organisms, and excavations are among activities that may constitute ground disturbance. Even minor soil-disturbing activities usually require additional review by a California State Park archaeologist. To facilitate review and reduce processing time required for your permit, please identify each ground disturbance area on a USGS 7.5-minute topographic map and provide details on the type, location, area, depth, number, and distribution of any such activities in your study proposal.

Why is classroom collecting prohibited?
The Department does not issue permits for general classroom collecting, either supervised or unsupervised, because of the cumulative impact that students participating in such activities would have on the natural features of the California State Park System.

How do I determine what other state or federal permits may be required for my work?
Information on permits that may be required from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (fish and wildlife permits, plant permits), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is available through those agencies. You are responsible for obtaining all permits or approvals pertinent to your research in California State Parks, as well as any other permits or approvals that may be needed for your work beyond California State Park boundaries.

If your research will occur in Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) of the State of California, you should also consult with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife; MPA and California State Park boundaries can be viewed online through MarineBIOS.

What resources are available to assist me in planning my research in California State Parks?
For planning purposes, California State Park boundary GIS layers are available for download, as is a map of California State Park units and districts. See Study Proposal Guidelines for Research in California State Parks for details.

Is there a fee for research permits issued by the California Department of Parks and Recreation?
No. There is currently no fee associated with scientific research and collecting permits.

What do I have to submit in the final report?
Your final report should be written so that a professional scientist, who may not necessarily be a specialist in your field, can understand the purpose of your research and significance of your results and conclusions. It should include, at a minimum, introduction, methods, results, and discussion sections and an assessment of how your findings are applicable to conservation or management of California State Park System natural resources.

Who can I contact with additional questions?
If you are unable to find an answer to your question after carefully reviewing this list, you can contact nrd.research@parks.ca.gov.

What is the purpose of the new indemnity agreement language on page 5 of the application form?
The new indemnity agreement language was added to protect California State Parks, its employees, and agents from liability arising out of an applicant's activities under the permit. The agreement requires the applicant's organization to be responsible for any damage to state property or to 3rd parties as a result of the permitted activity. Further, if California State Parks is named in a lawsuit arising from an applicant's activities, the applicant's organization is responsible for defending the Department in a lawsuit, unless it has been determined that the State's negligence or willful misconduct was the cause of the accident.

Why are applicants required to provide proof of insurance?
Insurance ensures that an applicant will have sufficient resources to defend and reimburse California State Parks in the event that their permitted activity causes an accident, injury, or death. Many entities do not have sufficient cash on hand to cover legal expenses and damages. Adequate insurance ensures that the applicant can cover both its own and the State's legal expenses and liabilities.