• 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

Salamanders

newt on moss

An adult newt, out of the water, and hunting for prey.

Andrew Hoffman

Eastern red-spotted newt
After a 'gully washer' rain storm, you may be lucky enough to see many newts crossing the trails. Depending on the age, some will be at the terrestrial stage, called 'red efts.' Older newts are aquatic and an olive green color with red spots, but will get washed up on land after a hard rain. The adults are fun to catch with a dip net, but must always be returned to their habitat unharmed. Eastern red-spotted newts are toxic to predators but harmless to humans. The red color of the young serves as a warning and help protect them from predation.

 
eastern red-backed salamander

'Redback' color morph of adult eastern red-backed salamader.

Andrew Hoffman

Eastern Red-Backed Salamander
The most common salamander in our area is the eastern red-backed. Although many in number, this species is unique for several reasons. First of all, this species is totally lacking lungs, breathing through its moist skin for respiration. In addition, it occurs in two different color forms. The 'redbacks' are grey with either a red or yellowish stripe down the back, and the 'leadbacks' are a solid dark grey with no striping. Lastly, red-backs hatch from the egg as adults, skipping the juvenile stage entirely.

Marbled close up

Up close and personal with a marbled salamander.

Andrew Hoffman

Marbled Salamander
Marbled salamanders are a sight to behold in the Piedmont forest. They are rather stocky but can reach almost 5 inches in length. Their moist skin is black with the females having silvery bands all down their body, while the male's bands look more whitish. Their aquatic larvae are easily seen because they are the only ones active in the icy cold of winter.

Did You Know?

Great Horned Owl

An owl's eyes are fixed in place because their large size provides no room for muscle. To compensate for this, it can turn its head in almost any direction and angle, including the ability to rotate its head nearly 280 degrees. By comparison, people can only turn their heads a mere 90 degrees!