Tennessee State Parks Scientific Research and Collecting Permit

Who Needs One?

Anyone wishing to collect biological or geological materials, or air or water samples, or install research equipment on State Park or Designated State Natural Area land must obtain a scientific research and collecting permit from the Resource Management Division.

If the collections are to include animals, or if any one wishes to collect on a Wildlife Management Area, a separate permit must be obtained from the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. Visit TWRA Scientific Collector's Permit page or contact Walter Cook, Non-game Species Coordinator at 615-781-6652. If collections are to include animals, but are not to be conducted on State Park or designated State Natural Area then no permit is needed from the Department of Environment and Conservation. However, permits from TWRA or other land managing agencies will still need to be obtained. If collections are to be conducted on State Forest Property you will need to contact the Division of Forestry at 615-837-5520.

What Information Must I Provide?

Applicants must submit the following information at least thirty (30) days prior to commencing their work.

  • A complete an Application for Scientific Research and Collecting Permit form. This form requires the applicant’s name, address, phone number, institution or organization, position or title; areas in which collection will be done, length of time needed.
  • Applicants must also provide a detailed narrative outlining the purpose of the work, objectives, procedures of study, specimens to be collected (in common and Latin nomenclature), anticipated environmental alterations, ultimate disposal of specimens, and permanent location of recorded data.

Form Description & Number

How Will My Application Be Processed?

Completed application forms should be sent to the Division of Natural Areas. A detailed review of the application is conducted, and the applicant is sent a copy of the approved permit when the review is complete. The review process generally takes twenty (20) working days. The permit is valid for up to a maximum of one (1) year from the date of issuance unless otherwise indicated on the permit. The permit may also be extended upon request.

What Fees Are Required?

There is no fee for the Scientific Research and Collecting Permit.

What Are My Rights and Responsibilities After the Permit is Approved?

Applicants have the duty to comply with all the provisions of the permit, statutes, and regulations. Applicant may not collect specimens for personal use. Specimens taken must become part of the permanent collection of a public museum or herbarium or must in some suitable way be made permanently available to the public and the scientific community. Collection may not disturb the remaining natural features or mar the appearance of a park area. The applicant will be required to provide a complete report of the scientific investigation to the individual State Park and to the Division of Natural Areas as a condition of the permit. Copies of published materials, theses, and/or dissertations, are also required.

What Are the Division’s Rights and Responsibilities After the Permit is Approved?

The Division is responsible for coordinating the approvals of the Division of Natural Areas, the Division of Archaeology and Tennessee State Parks before granting permits to collectors on state park properties in cases where these Divisions have oversight interests.

The Division has the right to revoke, suspend, or deny the issuance of a permit to anyone who violates the state statutes, departmental regulations, or policies of a State Park or State Natural Area. Any person violating the provisions of the state statutes or departmental regulations may be subject to civil penalties.

Whom Do I Contact For Applications, Assistance and Other Information?

Applicants may obtain applications and information from the Division of Natural Areas by calling 615-289-4264 or email David Lincicome at david.lincicome@tn.gov, Heritage Program manager, Division of Natural Areas.

Applicants may refer to the following publications for further information:

This Page Last Updated: September 13, 2023 at 2:56 PM