2013 Winter Activities
Catoctin Mountain Park News Release
November 4, 2013
For Immediate Release
Catoctin Mountain Park Announces Winter Activities Schedule and Road Closures
Manahan Road Closed for the Winter Season from 12:00 noon, November 18
Park Central Road Closed for the Winter Season from 12:00 noon, December 16
Park Central Road, located in Catoctin Mountain Park, Thurmont, Maryland, will close intermittently to vehicle traffic beginning at 4:30 p.m. on Monday November 18, 2013 for deer reduction. During this time, CATO staff will conduct white-tailed deer herd reduction activities in accordance with the Catoctin White-tailed Deer Management Plan / Final Environmental Impact Statement. Please see the attached chart and map for exact times and locations.
The gravel section of Manahan Road, north of Park Central Road, will close for the season at noon on Monday, November 18, 2013. Traditional winter closures substantially reduce the need for gravel replacement on the historic roadway and preserve the adjacent native plant environment. At an average elevation of 1500 feet, the Manahan Road area usually receives more freezing precipitation than any other area of the park. Closing the road enhances visitor safety while allowing opportunities for cross-country skiing and sledding as weather permits.
The Poplar Grove Tenting Area on Manahan Road remains open during most of the closure period, providing youth groups with the opportunity to test their fitness by backpacking supplies in and out of camp. Day hikers benefit as the absence of vehicle traffic increases the likelihood of observing deer and other wildlife. Poplar Grove and the surrounding area will be closed to all park visitors during deer management operations.
Portions of Park Central Road will close for the Winter Season at noon, December 16, 2013. Closed sections are the 2½ mile section of road on the east side of the park beginning at the Visitor Center and ending at the 1800’ elevation and from Manahan Road to Foxville-Deerfield Road. Closing roads when visitation is low and freezing precipitation often occurs increases visitor safety and reduces maintenance costs. Precipitation that falls as rain at the Visitor Center often changes to ice or snow in less than 1 mile driving distance.
The availability of the road for winter recreation is a positive result of this closure. Many casual hikers who would not otherwise use park trails find the road to be an ideal place to hike and enjoy nature. When there is sufficient snow, Park Central Road provides the beginner with an excellent location to learn cross-country skiing, providing a large area devoid of trees and other obstacles.
Park Central and Manahan Roads will reopen to vehicle traffic in March, 2014 as weather conditions permit.
Orienteering (Map and Compass Reading) - Sundays, November 10 and 17, and Saturdays, November 16 and 23 at the Visitor Center at 1:00 p.m.
Orienteering classes consist of an indoor slide program that introduces maps and their components as well as the orienteering compass that allows the user to determine the direction of travel. After learning how to use the compass in conjunction with the map, participants are given the opportunity to complete a short outdoor course. The outdoor course requires going off-trail in varied terrain so wear sturdy shoes and dress for the weather. Maps and compasses are provided for the day. The program is free but class size is limited so reservations are required. Please make your reservation by calling the Visitor Center at (301) 663-9388.
Deer Reduction Activities
Deer herd reduction is being carried out by qualified federal employees, since public hunting is not permitted in Catoctin Mountain Park. Meat from culled deer will be donated to the Maryland and Thurmont Food Banks, including pantries in Frederick and Washington Counties. The purpose of the herd reduction is to support forest regeneration and provide for the long-term protection, conservation and restoration of native species and cultural landscapes. The consumption of vegetation by the overpopulated deer herd has negatively impacted other wildlife species habitat, and park neighbors. All closed areas will be clearly posted and closures will remain in effect for short periods of time.
For closure areas and map see the complete news release and map.
Catoctin Mountain Park is one of 402 units administered by the National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior. Correspondence should be addressed to: Superintendent, Catoctin Mountain Park, 6602 Foxville Road, Thurmont, MD 21788. Our website address is www.nps.gov/cato. Emergency calls should be directed to the National Capital Region Communications Center at 1-866-677-6677. The Visitor Center is open from 9:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. daily.
Did You Know?
Visitors in Catoctin Mountain Park may gather morel mushrooms for personal consumption. Morels are found in a variety of habitats but generally they seem to be found in wet soil that is high in organic matter and shaded by trees, especially hardwoods. Favorite locations are closely guarded secrets!