New policy may financially benefit National Park System
A new policy will allow the nation's National Parks to share in the profits from research and work done on the more than 84 million acres of the system.
According to the Washington Examiner, the policy is expected to go into effect early next year. It was developed after many years of concern and a lawsuit regarding "bioprospecting" in Yellowstone National Park. In that case, scientists who collected bacteria in Yellowstone invented a process called the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) which facilitates the widespread use of DNA analyses.
"This is about the public, which owns places like Yellowstone, getting some kind of benefit if someone has a commercial product based on research which started in the park," Yellowstone spokesman Al Nash told the newspaper.
It's unclear how much money the park system stands to earn from the benefit-sharing, although one estimate puts it eventually between about $635,000 and $3.9 million annually.
Currently, an average of more than 200 national parks host independent research efforts each year. Only a small portion of NPS research permittees are expected to be affected by the new policy.