Catoctin Mountain Park to Celebrate National Public Lands Day with Volunteer Events

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Date: September 21, 2015
Contact: Debra Mills, 301-663-9399

Individuals, groups and service organizations are invited to join Catoctin Mountain Park in celebration of National Public Lands Day, Saturday, September 26 when Volunteer Trail Maintenance and Barberry Brigade crews will work throughout the day to assist with trail maintenance and barberry control. The National Park Service will thank every volunteer participating in the National Public Lands Day Service Project with a voucher good for one free admission to a National Park Service Unit during the upcoming year.

The Trail Maintenance Team will meet at the Visitor Center at 9:00 a.m when individuals and groups are invited to meet new friends with common interests and spend a portion of the day working in the forest to help stabilize trails. As always, enthusiasm is more important than skill or past experience as qualified National Park Service personnel will lead and mentor trail maintenance teams working to correct a high priority trail issue.

The Barberry Brigade will gather at the Visitor Center at 1:00 p.m to mount a frontal attack on what has been called the "least reversible of all human impacts on the ecosystem." This impact is the spread of alien invasive plants that are re-populating the forest and squeezing out native plants that provide food and habitat for native animal species. Catoctin Mountain Park hopes to lessen the impact of the problematic Japanese Barberry through citizen involvement in the "Barberry Brigade."

The Barberry Brigade will literally rip plants from the soil. While plants will be pulled manually, volunteers will learn how pulley systems can make the process less laborious, easier on the back and good way to have fun while learning about simple machines. Barberry Brigade volunteers who help multiple days and contribute 10 or more cumulative hours towards barberry control will be rewarded with a special patch.

Volunteers must wear long pants and closed toed shoes and are encouraged to bring adequate water and snacks. Insect repellent and sun screen may add to personal comfort. Guidance, gloves and tools are provided. Each work session will last approximately 3 hours. Volunteers are invited to work at either or both sessions as their schedule permits.

Already booked for National Public Lands Day?The Volunteer Service Series will be repeated every Saturday and Sunday through the end of November. Saturday projects will begin at 9:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m.Sunday projects will begin at 10:00 a.m. and 2 p.m. All project will begin at the park Visitor Center located at 14707 Park Central Road, Thurmont, MD 21788.

Interested parties are asked to call the Park Volunteer Coordinator at 301-663-9388 for details. Pre-registration is appreciated but is not required.

Fall Interpretive Program Offerings

Fall Color Walks –Sundays, October 4 and 11 and Saturdays, October 10 and 17, and at 1:30 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. at the Hog Rock Parking Area

How will this 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) - Sundays, November 8 and 15 and Saturdays, November 14 and 21, 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.

Catoctin Mountain Park is one of over 400 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 information can be obtained by calling the Visitor Center at

(301) 663-9388. The Visitor Center is open daily from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. The Visitor Center will be closed on Federal Holidays and on Wednesday from November 1 through March 31.


Last updated: September 22, 2015

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

6602 Foxville Road
Thurmont, MD 21788


(301) 663-9388

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