Other Permits

Research Permits


Copies of all permits must be on your person while conducting research on the Coronado National Forest. If you cannot produce your permit, you will be asked to cease and desist activities and you may be subject to a fine.

Thank you for considering conducting research on the Coronado National Forest. There is a diverse array of potential research projects on the Forest. We consider research one of the many allowed uses of public land; however, because National Forests are managed for multiple uses, a permit is required to conduct research on Forest Service managed lands, and a determination needs to be made if the action is subject to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) or other laws such as the Endangered Species Act (ESA) or National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA). Failure to obtain a permit for research violates Forest Service Policy and federal environmental regulations and may jeopardize the completion of the research.

Many activities occur in the Forest that may conflict with research projects, such as group recreational events, routine utility corridor maintenance, tree thinning, fuel wood or Christmas tree cutting, prescribed burns, habitat restoration, new land designations, and proposed land exchanges. Knowledge of research activities by Forest Service staff and regular communication can help minimize undesirable impacts on research projects. For this reason, and to promote and facilitate integration and coordination of complementary research projects, spatial data of all permitted research projects is required. Efforts will be made to link complementary projects and promote interdisciplinary research, if desired.

The Forest Service benefits from the data that researchers provide. New information from researchers can be incorporated into Forest Service databases and used to improve forest management. Consequently, a summary of findings (e.g., copies of theses, dissertations, papers) from permitted research on the Coronado National Forest shall be provided to the Forest Service upon request and upon completion of the study.

The process for obtaining a research permit varies depending on the location and type of research you plan to conduct. Some research will require a Special Use Permit while other projects may be eligible for a Nominal Effects Determination Letter, once reviewed by Forest Staff. Special use permits range in length from temporary (less than 1 year) permits to 5-year permits (maximum term). For more information on special use permits, please see Special Use Permits.

Examples of projects that may require a Special Use Permit include, but are not limited to:

  • Projects that install semi- permanent features on National Forest Land (such as cameras, plot markers, etc),
  • Projects that will be implemented in a designated Zoological-Botanical Area, Wilderness Area, Wilderness Study Area, Inventoried Roadless Area, or other specially designated area.
  • Projects that directly interact with wildlife or that will be conducted on federally listed species.
  • Projects involving ground disturbance such as soil sampling.

All prospective researchers must fill out a Research Permit Application which will provide us with information about your proposed project and its potential impacts to Forest resources. Projects that involve handling or collection of wildlife must have a current state permit and any applicable federal permits before applying for a Forest Service permit. which will provide us with information about your proposed project and its potential impacts on Forest Service resources. Projects that involve handling or collection of wildlife must have a current state permit and any applicable federal permits before applying for a Forest Service permit.

All research study applications must include:

  • Current curriculum vitae (CV) for principal investigator
  • Shapefile or KML (Google Earth) file of where you intend to work.
  • If any research is proposed in Wilderness Study Areas or other specially designated areas in the Forest, please ensure “Appendix A- Research in Wilderness and other Specially Designated Areas” is completed.
  • Appendix B- Study Plan

Permit processing time can range anywhere from 30 days to 6 months, so plan ahead and apply early. All research study proposals are subject to cost recovery (36 CFR 251.58(a)) and annual land use fees (36 CFR 251.57(a).)

Send all research study proposal materials to:

Coronado National Forest- Special Uses at SM.FS.Coronado_SU@usda.gov

Coronado National Forest
Attn: Special Uses
300 W. Congress St.
Tucson, AZ 85701


  • Avoid all ground disturbing activities as they may violate the National Historic Preservation Act. If ground disturbance is necessary, plan and allow for extra time for permit application review.
  • Avoid collection from areas infested with noxious weeds.
  • Obey all Forest Service administrative closures and orders.
  • Only use roads on the Coronado National Forest Motor Vehicle Use Maps to access collection areas.
  • It is the researcher’s responsibility to ensure they are not on active mining claims without permission from the claimant.
  • Research sites will be left in a naturally appearing state and no hazards will be left behind that could pose a threat to forest visitors, employees, or wildlife.
  • Follow all rules and regulations regarding campfires.
  • Practice “Leave No Trace” principles.
  • Follow all wilderness regulations including arch methods, trip size, and permitting regulations.

Saguaro cactus (Carnegiea gigantea) skeletons are prohibited from collection through Research Study Permits, Forest Products Permits, incidental use, or any other means on Coronado National Forest lands.