Cultural/scientific research permits

All research activities within state parks, recreation areas, boating access sites and rail trails are required to have a use permit. Research done on state forest land or state game or wildlife areas requires a permit it if violates a land use rule (such as leaving equipment onsite overnight or damaging vegetation).

Application process:

Please complete form PR-1138-1 (commercial or non-event use permit application).

Attach a separate research proposal document to the permit application. At a minimum, this proposal must include:

  • Names of all people to be included on permit (including research associates/students).
  • A map or detailed description of study area location(s) within the park(s) - indicate on a park map if possible.
  • Schedule - start and end dates for field work in the park(s). Note that use permits will only be issued through the end of one calendar year, at which time the applicant must submit a brief progress report and renewal request.
  • Describe the need for the research.
  • Explain why this research should be done at this location.
  • Describe any expected benefits of the project to the natural or cultural resources at the location and/or to more effective protection or management of those resources.
  • Methods - include a description of any plant or animal collection, potential damage to vegetation and a description of all equipment and plot markers that will be used on site and for how long they will remain on site.
  • Type of report expected from this project (i.e., refereed journal article, thesis, dissertation, book, unpublished report) and projected completion date of report.

Send your completed application and proposal to:

Alicia Ihnken, Stewardship Analyst (PRD Research Coordinator)
Parks and Recreation Division
E-mail (preferred method of submittal):
Mail: PO Box 30257, Lansing, MI 48909-7757
Fax: 517-284-6129

Please allow up to three weeks for the application to be processed from the time that a complete application is received.

Use permit applications for research do not need to be accompanied by any application or review fees. Most research projects will require no fees, bonding or insurance, but will require submittal of a report at the conclusion of the project in place of monetary payment.

This use permit does not eliminate the need for other permits which may be required by law. For example, if you plan to collect a threatened or endangered species, a Threatened/Endangered Species Permit is required from the DNR's Wildlife Division. Collection of federally threatened or endangered species requires a federal permit. Collection of certain aquatic, reptile or amphibian species requires a Cultural or Scientific Collectors Permit for Fish, Reptiles, Amphibians, Crustaceans or Mollusks. Certain bird and/or mammal collections require a Scientific Collector's Permit.