It is customary within the Antarctic Treaty System for the proponent (or proponents) of an Antarctic Specially Managed Area (ASMA) to assume the lead role in management within the Area. In the case of ASMA No.5 Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, the United States is the only permanently resident operator and the original proponent, and therefore plays the lead role in coordinating activities within the Area.

ASMA No.5 Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station covers an area of approximately 26,283 km² and encompasses the station facilities and surrounding research and monitoring sites. The ASMA is designed to facilitate management of activities in the region in order that the special scientific, environmental, and historical values of the area are conserved. Effective coordination and management of activities in the area is needed to ensure that conflicts between activities and cumulative environmental impacts do not occur. The objectives of management are to:

  • Facilitate scientific research while maintaining stewardship of the environment;
  • Prevent conflicts among activities, including different areas of scientific research, science support activities, and non-governmental activities;
  • Promote coordination for future activities, including coordination with tour operators visiting the Area;
  • Maintain a safe environment in the Area;
  • Maintain the historic values of the Area;
  • Minimize environmental impacts of human activities;
  • Minimize release of pollutants;
  • Allow for necessary modifications and expansion of station facilities in a managed, well-planned manner.