Catoctin Mountain Park Announces Deer Management and Road Closures

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Date: October 19, 2015
Contact: Debra Mills, 301-663-9388

Deer Spotlight Surveys

National Park Service personnel will be conducting deer spotlight surveys from 6:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. during the week of October 26, 2015.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 surveys.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.

Road Closures

Manahan and Park Central Roads to Close for Deer Reduction Activities and the Winter Season

Park Central and Manahan Roads, located in Catoctin Mountain Park, Thurmont, Maryland, will close intermittently to vehicle traffic beginning at 1 pm on Monday November 16, through December 17, 2015 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.

Park Central Road

Portions of Park Central Road will close intermittently beginning at 4 pm on weekdays November 16-19, 2015 and December 14-17, 2015 to insure visitor safety during white-tailed deer herd reduction. Portions of Park Central Road will close for the Winter Season at noon, December 21, 2015. 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 during times when freezing precipitation is likely, increases visitor safety and reduces maintenance costs. Precipitation falling as rain at the Visitor Center can change 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.

Manahan Road

The gravel section of Manahan Road, north of the intersection with Park Central Road, will close intermittently on weekdays November 16-19, 2015 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 1pm in closed areas and after sunset, when the Park is closed to visitors.

Manahan Road will close for the winter season beginning Monday, November 30, 2015. 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.

Park Central and Manahan Roads will reopen to vehicle traffic in March, 2015 as weather conditions permit.

Poplar Grove

The Poplar Grove Tenting Area on Manahan Road remains open on weekends during 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 wildlife.The Poplar Grove and the immediate area will be closed to all park visitors during deer management operations.

Deer Reduction Activities

The seventh season of deer herd reduction is being carried out intermittently between November 16, 2015 and February 11, 2016 in accordance with the Catoctin White-tailed Deer Management Plan / Final Environmental Impact Statement.Reduction activities will be conducted by qualified federal employees since public hunting is not permitted in Catoctin Mountain Park.The purpose of the deer 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.

Before the first season of deer management began at Catoctin Mountain Park in February 2010, there were approximately 123 deer per square mile in the Park.The deer population was estimated by Park Biologists to be 35 deer per square mile before the sixth season of reduction began, still more than 2 times higher than the density of deer in healthy forest ecosystems (15 deer per square mile).The number of deer removed each year is based on the annual results of vegetation monitoring and deer spotlight surveys.This year,National Park Service personnel will be conducting deer spotlight surveys from 6:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. during the week of October 26, 2015, 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 surveys.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.

More than 28,000 pounds of venison has been donated to local food banks since deer management began in 2010.This year, three local food pantries will receive meat from culled deer.According to HELP Hotline Director Josephine Willard, "the HELP Hotline provided venison, donated through the National Park Service at Catoctin Mountain Park, to 225 families needing food assistance over a nine month period this past year.Our families appreciated this healthy, delicious supplement to their diets. They shared with us the different ways they prepared the venison that enhanced their meals."

Thurmont Food Bank's Pastor Sally Joyner-Giffin said that "

Deer reduction activities will only occur in closed areas.All closed areas will be clearly posted and closures will remain in effect for short periods of time.The closure areas are described below. After sunset, the Park is closed to visitors.  See map (pdf 3,195 KB).

CATOCTIN MOUNTAIN PARK

AREA CLOSURES FOR DEER REDUCTION

Nov 16-19, 2015

Closed Daily

Except Dawn to 1pm

Dec 14-17, 2015

Closed Daily

Except Dawn to 1pm

Jan 4-7, 2016

Closed Daily

Except Dawn to 1pm

Jan. 19-21, 2016

Closed Daily

Except Dawn to 1pm

Feb. 8-11, 2016

Closed Daily

Except Dawn to 1pm

Area A

The western portion of the Park, west of Foxville-Deerfield Road to the Park boundary including the Adirondack Shelter and Horse Trail and Owens Creek Campground.

X

X

X

X

X

Area B

East of Foxville-Deerfield Road, including Poplar Grove, to the north boundary, excluding Chestnut Picnic Area. Park Central Road west of Manahan Road will remain open until 4:00 pm and reopen at 3:00 am each day until November 30, when it will close for the winter.

X

X

X

X

X

Area C

Camp Misty Mount, the area east of the Hog Rock Nature Trail, west of Park Central Road and North of Falls Nature Trail, excluding Blue Blazes Whiskey Still Trail.Park Central Road will remain open until 4:00 and reopen at 3:00 am each day until December 21, when it will close for the winter

X

X

X

X

X

Area D

Park Central Road north to the Park boundary, including Wolf Rock and Chimney Rock.

X

X

X

X

X

Area E

The northern portion of the Park just south of Buck Lantz Road

X

X

X

X

X

Area F

South of Park Central Road to the southern park boundary, between Manahan Road and Hog Rock Nature Trail.

X

X

X

X

X

Catoctin Mountain Park is one of over 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 5:00 p.m. The Visitor Center will be closed on Federal Holidays November 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

-NPS-




Last updated: April 27, 2018

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

6602 Foxville Road
Thurmont, MD 21788

Phone:

(301) 663-9388

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