• dogwood across creek

    Prince William Forest

    Park Virginia

There are park alerts in effect.
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  • NO FIREWORKS

    Reminder to park visitors. Fireworks are prohibited at Prince William Forest Park.

  • Oak Ridge Campground Site A29 closure

    Oak Ridge Campground site A29 will be closed until safety concerns have been mitigated. Please do not use that site until it has been reopened.

  • Warm Wet Spring = More Ticks

    Please check yourself and your pets for ticks continually during and after your visit. Ticks are less prevelent if you stay on trail or in mowed areas. Wearing light colored clothing helps you spot them before the attach.

  • Firewood

    Outside firewood is prohibited in Prince William Forest Park, unless it is certified USDA 'bug free' firewood. Dead and downed wood may be collected from designated areas for use while in the park. Help us protect the forest from invasive species!

  • Visitor Center Remodel 2014

    Over the next several months there will be new changes coming to the Visitor Center. Presently we are remodeling the bookstore area to give it more of a country theme. Next the exibit area will get all new exhibits. Thank you for your patience and support

Nature & Science

lizard
A Fence Lizard perches on a cabin wall.
NPS Photo.
 

Prince William Forest Park protects the largest piedmont forest in the National Park Service and the largest greenspace in the Washington, DC metropolitan region. This park gives area residents and visitors a unique opportunity to immerse themselves in an abundance of natural features, ecosystems, flora, and fauna.

Use the links below to navigate to more information on the natural resources of Prince William Forest Park.

 

Animals
Diversity! That is the key to understanding the animal populations of Prince William Forest Park. Learn more about the 38 species of mammals, 24 species of amphibians, 27 species of reptiles, 100+ species of birds, 23 species of fish, and an unknown number of invertebrates that make this park their home.

 

Plants
There are over 700 plant species in Prince William Forest Park. From the smallest wildflower to the tallest tree, each species has a special role to play in this forest ecosystem. 365 days a year, Prince William Forest Park is here to explore - tree bark in winter, wildflowers in spring, canopy cover in summer, and autumn colors in fall.

 

Environmental Factors
Despite its status as the largest greenspace in metropolitan Washington, D.C., Prince William Forest Park is not immune to environmental factors that stress its ecosystems. Climate change is altering ecoystem norms. Invasive species carried in on firewood and the bottoms of our shoes and cars can wreak havoc on species (see the gypsy moth defoliation at left). Boundary encroachment and area development stress the pristine ecosystems within with pollution runoff and litter. The more we learn about these problems, the more we can work together with the surrounding community to seek solutions.

 

Natural Features and Ecosystems
Looking at plants and animals individually is like looking at the earth with tunnel vision. Take a step back and look at the natural features and ecosystems of Prince William Forest Park are all interdependent on each other. Learn how geologic features were formed and how geology leads to soil types and how soil types lead to plant development and how plants lead to animal habitats. It's all right here!

 

Research & Reports
Want to dig a little bit deeper? (figuratively of course...) Check out our Research page to see the science behind the facts and figures. If you want to conduct research in Prince William Forest Park or other national parks, apply for a research permit.

Did You Know?

American beaver

By the 1900s, Beavers were entirely extirpated from Virginia and were difficult to find across the entire lower 48 states due to over-consumption by humans. In 1950, Boy Scouts reintroduced 5 beavers into Prince William Forest Park. Today are more than 80 beavers in the 15,000 acre park.