The National Park Service faces a number of increasingly complex issues that threaten the integrity of natural ecosystems, cultural resources, and visitor experiences at Shenandoah National Park. To prevent the degradation or impairment of these park values, park managers must be aware of and understand the causes and consequences of these threats. The successful management and protection of Shenandoah National Park therefore depend upon scientifically credible and timely answers to important questions. Research is one important tool used by the National Park Service to meet its stewardship responsibilities. 

Shenandoah National Park offers an ideal natural laboratory in which to study a wide variety of research topics. Important science issues at the park include, but are not limited to, air pollution, water quality, habitat fragmentation, invasive exotic species, rare species conservation, recreation impacts on visitor experiences and natural resources, restoration of disturbed natural and cultural landscapes, and a lack of baseline data about the park’s natural and cultural resources. Shenandoah National Park offers a diversity of landscapes, including hardwood forest, rocky outcrops, mountain streams, and open meadows.

In the past, the research grant program was open to applications from undergraduate and graduate students, college and university faculty, state and federal agency scientists, private-sector research professionals, and others with appropriate backgrounds and credentials. 

Each year we determine whether or not we may offer these donor-funded grants. Please reach out if you are interested in sponsoring a research grant. 

A partnership with Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute inventoried the natural resources of the Central Blue Ridge, determined their economic value, and built computer modeling to determine what our region will look like 10, 20 and 50 years from now based on possible changes in air quality, deforestation, and other variables. Project data like this informs long-range planning for communities around the national park.

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Help us keep bears wild!

Keeping bears wild starts with keeping them away from human food sources. The most effective way to do that is through bear-proof storage lockers, or “bear boxes.” Right now, only 63% of the park’s campsites have a bear box at the site, leaving nearly 140 campsites without safe food storage. The Trust has committed to making that 100% by funding the purchase and installation of these boxes at every single campsite in Shenandoah National Park. 

A black bear peeks around a tree.   

Each box comes with a $2,000 price tag, and the Trust has set a goal of raising $280,000 to purchase and install the remaining 138 boxes, ensuring that visitors stay safe, and bears stay wild.