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Research, Collection, and Field-Course Permit Applications

COVID19 cancellations: OSMP is only issuing new research, collection, or field-course permits on a very limited basis, based on staff capacity. Learn more about city-related COVID19 closures. Other OSMP-related closures can be viewed at

Interested in conducting research on Open Space & Mountain Parks (OSMP) lands?

In an effort to minimize impacts to OSMP resources and to maximize the success of each proposed project, potential investigators must submit a proposal to OSMP staff before the initiation of a project. Proposals will be reviewed and approved projects will be issued permits. This process may take 4-6 weeks, depending on the nature of the proposal. PLEASE PLAN ACCORDINGLY. Please allow extra time for proposal review during the field season (generally April thru September).

We issue three types of permits—research, collection and those for field courses—and each has their own unique application form. Collection requests that are not part of a research project or field course (i.e., native seed collection) need only to submit the collection permit application for staff review. However, in practice, we want nearly all people that are proposing collections to complete a research or field course permit application. The research and field course permit applications gives us much more information than the collection permits, allowing us to evaluate the context and justification for the collections. If you complete a research or field course permit, you do not need to complete a separate collections permit application. If you have any question on which permit to complete, please contact Brian Anacker via email or call 303-818-0503.

OSMP uses a permitting process to help achieve the following goals: 1) to ensure that OSMP plants, animals, visitors, and sensitive habitats are not directly or indirectly impacted by research, 2) to ensure that data and results are made available to staff so that information can be incorporated into management of OSMP lands, and 3) to maximize the success of each project by working directly with researchers to ensure that ongoing management activities or other research projects do not adversely affect their study areas or data collection.

Have you ever wondered why you need a permit for collecting on Open Space and Mountain Parks lands?

A permit must be obtained in order to collect any specimens or artifacts including cultural, historical, plant, animal, or mineral specimens or related materials on OSMP. Collection permits are typically issued for research purposes only. Collection without a permit is prohibited. Municipal statutes prohibit the collection or damage of natural resources on OSMP, and violations can result in ticketing and fines. The collection permit requirement enables staff to coordinate and track collection activity, and to minimize negative impacts on native plants, wildlife and other natural values. For example, over-collection of native plants or seeds threatens native populations by compromising the viability of local populations and depleting seed banks. Boulder has many rare and sensitive plant species that are protected on OSMP land from off-trail trampling, displacement by noxious weeds, collection and other threats.

How do I apply for a research permit?

Generally speaking, OSMP requires more information on new research than on continuing projects. For continuing research projects in which methods and timeline were approved during the previous year, please contact your staff sponsor before continuing any research activities on OSMP. For new research projects, please follow the guidelines in the application for your proposal format.

Applications are available under Related Links. Please contact the appropriate staff person below if you would like a Microsoft Word application instead of a PDF.

How do I know if my area of interest is managed by OSMP and open to the public?

Please view the OSMP Trail Map pdf to confirm if the area you are interested in is managed by OSMP and open to the public (note that Boulder County Parks and Open Space also manages a substantial amount of land and has a separate designation on the map, contact the County for permission to access their properties for research). Please check the Wildlife Closures Overview Map to see if there are any closures in the area.  

Can my group register for a field course at the White Rocks Preserve? 

Two hikes to the Weiser property of White Rocks are available upon request for individual groups each year. For more information, contact Lynne Sullivan at [email protected] 303-204-3960. Each year, requests will be accepted up to the end of June for a hike that following August, September or October. A lottery selection system will be used if more than two requests are received, with selection of the year’s recipients in early July.

Note: Researchers are responsible for acquiring all state and federal permits that apply to their work.

**All participants in approved research projects must sign a registration / waiver. A registration / waiver form will be provided along with the permit.

Where do I send my completed application?

Applications must be submitted electronically. Electronic applications should be directed to:

Brian Anacker via email or call 303-818-0503.