The Sierra Nevada Research Institute (SNRI) was incorporated into the original 1997 Academic Plan for the UC Merced campus. During the same year, SNRI started UC Merced's first partnership with resource managers for Yosemite and Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Parks. The founding Director, Samuel Traina, oversaw the SNRI from 2001 until 2008 when Roger Bales became Director. In 2007, SNRI became UC Merced's first Organized Research Unit (ORU). Since its induction into UC Merced, SNRI has maintained its original focus and the regional identity envisioned in its original prospectus.