Fall Activities and Road Closures
Catoctin Mountain Park
October 2, 2012
For Immediate Release
Catoctin Mountain Park Announces Fall Activities Schedule and Road Closures
Fall Color Walks – Saturdays, October 20 and 27, and Sundays, October 21 and 28 at 1:30p.m. and 3:00 p.m. at the Hog Rock Parking Area
How willthis year's growing season affect the fall colors in Catoctin Mountain Park? Meet a ranger at the Hog Rock Parking Lot at 1:30 or 3:00 p.m. on any of the above dates for a short walk to learn why the leaves change in the fall and how weather affects fall color. Is there a scientific reason or does mysterious Jack Frost deserve the credit?
Orienteering (Map and Compass Reading) - Saturday, November 3 and 17, and Sundays, November 4 and 18, at the Visitor Center at 1:00 p.m.
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.
Camp Misty Mount – Cabin rentals available through October 28
Cabins may be rented in historic Camp Misty Mount through the October 28. Rustic chestnut cabins constructed by the Works Progress Administration are available to individuals, families and groups. Please call the Misty Mount office at (301) 271-3140 to make your reservation or for further information.
Owens Creek Campground – Open for family camping through November 4
Owens Creek Campground is open on a first-come, first-served basis through November 4, 2012. The campground will close for the season at 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, November 4, 2012.
Each site is limited to one camping unit (tent or trailer) and a maximum of 5 people. Maximum tent size is 9'x12'. Trailers up to 22' in length are accepted but there are no hookups. The fee is $20.00 per night.
Deer Spotlight Surveys
National Park Service personnel will be conducting deer spotlight surveys from 7 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. during the week of October 29, 2012.The purpose of the surveys is to obtain a current deer population density estimate for the park.All roads that are within or along the boundary of the Park will be included in the survey.These roads include Park Central, Manahan, Foxville Deerfield, and Quirauk School Roads as well as Route 77.Spotlighting will only take place on park property and will be conducted from a marked NPS vehicle.
Manahan Road Closed for the Winter Season from 12:00 noon, November 26
Park Central and Manahan Roads, located in Catoctin Mountain Park, Thurmont, Maryland, will close intermittently to vehicle traffic beginning at 10:00 a.m. on Monday November 5, 2012 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. Weather may require that Manahan Road close permanently for the season on or after Monday, November 26, 2012.The gravel section north of the intersection with Park Central Road will close early this season to insure visitor safety during white-tailed deer herd reduction. These activities, conducted in accordance with the Catoctin White-tailed Deer Management Plan / Final Environmental Impact Statement, will occur after sunset, when the Park is closed to visitors.
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.
The Poplar Grove Tenting Area on Manahan Road remains open on weekends 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.The Poplar Grove and the immediate area will be closed to all park visitors during deer management operations.
Park Central and Manahan Roads will reopen to vehicle traffic in March, 2013 as weather conditions permit.
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 Food Bank, 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. The health of the deer population continues to decline.Reduction activities will occur after sunset, when the Park is closed to visitors.All closed areas will be clearly posted and closures will remain in effect for short periods of time.The closure areas are as follows:
Catoctin Mountain Park is one of nearly 400 units administered by the
National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior. The park Visitor
Center, located on State Route 77 three miles west of Thurmont, Maryland, is open
daily from 10:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., and from 8:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. on Saturdays
and Sundays. The Visitor Center is will be closed on Federal Holidays through
February.Correspondence should be
addressed to: Superintendent, Catoctin Mountain Park, 6602 Foxville Road,
Thurmont, MD 21788. Our website address is www.nps.gov/cato.General information can be obtained by
calling the Visitor Center at (301) 663-9388.
EXPERIENCE YOUR AMERICA
The National Park Service cares for special places saved by the American people so that all may experience our heritage.
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!