Located in all 50 states and covering more than 85 million acres in total, our national parks are increasingly subject to the environmental and human impacts which threaten the health of wildlife and the habitats on which their survival depends. The National Park Foundation (NPF) is dedicated to working with the National Park Service (NPS) and our partners to conduct crucial studies to determine how these threats are impacting our parks, and how we can best protect the parks, their habitats, and their wildlife for current and future generations.
NPF’s work in critical ecosystem research supports projects in national parks that examine the health of our parks’ habitats, as well as how we can best restore and continue to monitor park ecosystems. After 100 years of protecting our parks, these projects are ensuring our parks are well preserved for years to come.
Highlights & Projects
Reintroducing Wolves to Yellowstone
Since 2014, NPF has partnered with Yellowstone National Park to support its reintroduction of wolves by providing funding for the ongoing research, tagging, and monitoring of the wolves to study how they have adjusted to their new home. The research is also providing information on how the wolves are impacting the dynamics of the rest of Yellowstone’s ecosystem, including prey species like elk and bison.
In the greater Glacier National Park ecosystem, NPF supported habitat and species studies in preparation for the return of endemic bison to the region for the first time in 150 years. This support allows the park, the Wildlife Conservation Society, the U.S. Geological Survey, and the Blackfeet Tribe to evaluate the impact of the bison’s return to the park habitat, diverse species, and cultural resources.
NPF provided funding and telemetry equipment to monitor critically endangered California condors at both Redwood National and State Parks and Pinnacles National Park. In 2016, NPF partnered with the Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), NPS, and the Yurok Tribe to build a facility and monitoring program that will allow condors to be released into Yurok ancestral territory within Redwood National Park.
In 2011, a study identified 28 new American golden eagle territories within Yellowstone National Park. In response, the park embarked on a 10-year study of the species within park boundaries, with NPF providing the funding for the final year of study. The research focused on monitoring the eagles’ reproductive activity and population size, and the data gathered will help the park make informed decisions as to how to care for the eagles in the future.
Florida Bonneted Bats
With support from NPF, Everglades National Park is evaluating the impact of proposed park maintenance projects on the park’s population of Florida bonneted bats. Wildlife biologists with the project are using new technology such as ultrasonic microphones, telescoping poles, and acoustic recording devices to monitor bat activity and gain a better understanding of their nesting habits in the park.
Fruita Area Wildlife
NPF supported a high impact survey in Capitol Reef National Park, investigating the impact of black bear and mountain lion populations in the historic Fruita area of the park using camera trap technology. The project also invited the public and youth to get involved in the data collection through social media and public interpretive programming.
Sierra Nevada Red Foxes
NPF funded research on Sierra Nevada red foxes in Crater Lake National Park – one of the rarest mammals in North America. The research examined red fox distribution across the park’s more than 180,000 acres and the effect of visitor activities on the species’ population and activity.
Bats Along Fire Island
NPF helped Fire Island National Seashore participate in the Long Island Century Bat Survey, designed to collect important data about rapidly declining bat populations. The park partnered with several organizations, as well as Gateway National Recreation Area and Sagamore Hill National Historic Site, and educated the public about the current status of bats in the area, including how they can help.