Research at Itasca

Faculty, advanced students, and other independent investigators may be approved to use the station facilities for research purposes during any season. To initiate research projects at IBSL, submit an application.

Submit a research application

Once you have submitted your application, please send your prefered dates and lodging option at IBSL to Questions about the application? Contact IBSL station at or (218) 699-3550.


State Park Research Permits

If you'll be working outdoors in Itasca State Park, Minnesota DNR Parks and Trails permits are required for research and teaching. Download a MN DNR Parks and Trails application for research permits and renewals. Note that the form is located at the bottom of the linked page.


IBSL Research Resources 

The Itasca Station campus and surrounding area have the following facilities, activities, and resources that may enable or leverage proposed research:

At Itasca Station
  • Dining: Dining hall (buffet-style meals); In-cabin kitchens in faculty cabins
  • Lodging: Full-bath and kitchen cabins; Bunkhouses with shared bathhouse facilities; Campsites
  • Year-round facilities: IBSL is open year-round; Many cabins are winterized, and the Biome center and several laboratory spaces remain open all year
  • Digital connectivity: Telecommuting & Wi-Fi throughout IBSL; video conferencing; land line phones
  • Collaboration: IBSL can host gatherings; seminar, writing, meeting spaces
  • Ongoing data collection: 
    • Microbial endophyte/pathogen/saprophyte transition in wood decomposition (NSF, DOE)
    • Lakes as sinks/sources of greenhouse gases (water quality buoy monitoring) (NSF), bird parasitism, sediment coring, weather data on-site since 1911, mammal tracking, etc. 
  • Old data: Data archiving and digitization efforts; library specific to Itasca 
  • Literature: Itasca Station has over 1000 publications focused locally 
  • Environmental history: The Station (est. 1909) and State Park (est. 1891) are among the oldest in the United States; IBSL has an ongoing history collaboration with State Park Naturalists
  • Teaching: IBSL hosts Field Biology classes that may synergize with faculty/student research
Beyond the IBSL campus
  • Itasca State Park & MN DNR NW Region Office; data collection for 100+ years
  • Kiosk space: Highly-visible interpretive kiosk spaces at headwaters and at Brower Visitor Center
  • State Forest landsState Natural Areas (SNAs)Iron Springs Bog, LaSalle Lake
  • Manipulative field science: 44-acre ‘South Plot’ 0.5 miles north of State Park (see 15+ page guide to maps of the station, land, soils, forest types, waters, etc.)
  • Demonstration field science: 19-acre ‘North Plot’ Science Demonstration Area (SDA) is slated, with interpretive sites, to enable science demonstration and engagement
  • Student/postdoc engagement ‘plug-ins’: MarketSci at Bemidji & Park Rapids farmers markets; Wet-n-wild headwater weekends; Station tours; Station-led hikes; Park programming on/off campus
  • Clearwater County Land & Forestry; Soil & Water
  • Hubbard, Becker, Beltrami, Mahnomen, Polk, Cass, Wadena County offices for Itasca Regional
  • White Earth, Red Lake, Leech Lake tribes (annual Wild Rice workshop hosted at IBSL each Sept.)