Two researchers bend over a marked off section of ground covered in plant life. One researcher is pointing at the ground as the other looks on.

Research Permits

The New York City Department of Parks & Recreation welcomes use of City-owned parklands for scientific research. Parks’ personnel can help researchers with site choice, logistics, and other facets of their research in NYC. In return, Parks benefits from research, especially that which helps us better manage our recreational, cultural, and natural resources.

Activities Requiring a Research Permit

Any research conducted on lands managed by the Parks Department requires a Research Permit. Examples include observational surveys, soil sampling, vegetation plot sampling, insect collecting, bird banding and small mammal trapping.

All activities on City parkland must be in accordance with Parks’ Rules & Regulations. Research permits will not be granted for projects in violation of these statutes. Please review all regulations prior to submitting your application, including Prohibited and Regulated Uses (§1-04 and §1-05).

Collection of soil, rocks, artifacts, plants or their parts, animals (including insects) or their nests or eggs, from NYC Parks is strictly regulated. Persons wishing to make such collections within Parks’ property must receive special permission to do so under a NYC Parks Research or Wildlife Permit. Digging, excavating, planting, installing stakes, fences, signs or other markers must also receive special permission under a NYC Parks Research Permit.

Additional Approvals You May Need

Any research that involves pursuing, holding, capturing, or collecting wildlife (including invertebrates) must also be covered under a New York State Department of Environmental Conservation License to Collect and Possess. You may download a copy of their permit application. Please send this application to New York State DEC, not to Parks.

In addition, if your research involves pursuing, holding, capturing, or collecting mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles or fish, or will impact mammals or birds in any way, you must receive approval from your organization’s Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC), if one exists. For information on the IACUC, visit

Applying for a Research Permit

To apply for a NYC Parks Research Permit you must fill out an application form, available online, or through US Mail. You may request a hard copy application by writing to the address below or emailing


Your permit application will be reviewed by a panel of scientists, park managers, and other personnel for scientific merit, potential for damage of park resources, and potential benefit to park resources. After the review period, you will be notified whether your application has been approved. Please allow up to sixty (60) days from the submission date of your completed application for processing.


Conducting Research in NYC Parks with a Research Permit

If your application has been approved, you will be required to notify the management of the site(s) where you will be conducting research 48 hours prior to any research activities.

If you need to park a vehicle on NYC Parks’ property or drive on such property, you must receive a separate Parking or Vehicle Access Permit from the management of the park where your research is sited.

If you plan to install traps, stakes, signs or other markers, wildlife cameras or any other equipment, each piece of equipment must be marked as follows: "NYC Parks’ Research Permit # _____." (Fill in the number of your permit).

If you request use of data owned by Parks, you must agree to and sign a Data-Sharing Agreement.

You will also be required to provide Parks with an annual report of your research activities and a copy of all data collected by January 31st of the year following the permit year, to be used for management purposes only.

Publications resulting from the use of City parkland must acknowledge the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation. Electronic copies of publications including theses and dissertations generated from this work must be submitted to

Permits expire on December 31st of each year. If there are no changes to your research plan, you may request a permit renewal without completing a new application. Renewal is contingent upon submission of the annual report.

Any damage to NYC Parks’ resources must be repaired or mitigated. For example, all soil pits must be refilled and markings must be removed within one month of completion of research. Any severe damage to soils, vegetation, or property may require more extensive remediation.

For additional information about research permits, please e-mail

For Paper Copies of Application Forms Contact

City of New York, Department of Parks and Recreation
NYC Urban Field Station
431 Walter Reed Road
Fort Totten Cluster #2, Box #12
Bayside, NY 11359-1137

or email

Was this information helpful?