Science Advisor to the Director
US National Park Service

Dr. Machlis currently serves as Science Advisor to the Director, National Park Service (NPS). He began his association with the NPS in the 1970s, and worked as a graduate student on some of the first visitor surveys conducted for the NPS. In the 1980s he developed the Visitor Services Project, which has conducted visitor surveys in over 200 units of the National Park Service. In 1995 he was appointed the first Visiting Chief Social Scientist, and was instrumental in developing the NPS’s current social science program and the Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Unit (CESU) Network. He served as National Coordinator of the CESU Network from 1998-2006.

Soon after being confirmed by the US Senate as NPS Director, Jon Jarvis appointed Dr. Machlis as his Science Advisor. As Science Advisor, Machlis advises the NPS Director on science policy and programs, and works with the Department of the Interior leadership, NPS managers, and the scientific community in advancing the role of science within the NPS. In 2010, Dr. Machlis served as Lead Scientist for the Department of the Interior's Strategic Sciences Working Group, an interdisciplinary research team established soon after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, and assigned the task of developing science-based scenarios for response and recovery planning. In 2012, he was appointed by Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar to co-lead the Department's Strategic Sciences Group, which has responsibility to conduct interdisciplinary science-based assessments during national environmental crisis.

Collaborating Organizations

National Park Service

With over 270 million visitors each year, the NPS preserves 390 nationally significant natural and cultural parks on over 83 million acres for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations. The NPS cooperates with partners to extend the benefits of natural and cultural resource conservation and outdoor recreation throughout this country and the world. For more information about the NPS visit

University of Idaho

Founded in 1889, the University of Idaho is the state’s premier higher-education institution and its principal graduate education and research university. UI also serves the nation and the world, attracting more than 12,000 students from all 50 states and more than 90 countries. The University of Idaho offers 106 degree options in nine colleges and attracts more than $100 million in federal research grants and contracts each year. For more information, visit