News Release

National Parks in Maryland, Virginia and DC provide more than 75,000 meals to neighbors with donated venison

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Date: April 29, 2019
Contact: Katie Liming, 202-619-7156

Six national parks in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia have concluded annual operations to reduce overabundant white-tailed deer. The parks, ranging from Civil War battlefields to urban parks, donated more than 19,000 pounds of venison, equalling over 75,000 meals to local nonprofits. These nonprofits serve meals locally and across the region to families in need.

National park

Venison donated

Local nonprofit

Antietam National Battlefield

3,870 lbs

Maryland Food Bank

Catoctin Mountain Park

2,070 lbs

Thurmont Food Bank, HELP Hotline

Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park

660 lbs

Maryland Food Bank

Manassas National Battlefield Park

7,230 lbs

Tree of Life Food Pantry

Monocacy National Battlefield

2,370 lbs

Maryland Food Bank

Rock Creek Park

3,000 lbs

DC Central Kitchen


19,200 lbs


Deer are professionally processed and tested for chronic wasting disease as required before the venison is donated.

While these six parks preserve different aspects of America’s history and natural treasures, all have suffered the effects of high deer populations. Overabundant deer populations do immense damage to plants and eat nearly all tree seedlings so forests cannot sustain themselves. Deer also damage agricultural crops, which are a key component of the historic setting at many Civil War battlefields. These six parks manage deer to support long-term protection and restoration of native plants and to promote healthy and diverse ecosystems.

Deer management has produced positive results at several area national parks. Catoctin Mountain Park (Md.) has actively worked to reduce deer populations in the park since 2010 and has seen more than an 11-fold increase in native tree and shrub seedling density over the past 10 years. Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park and Manassas National Battlefield Park conducted their first deer management operations in 2019. Antietam National Battlefield and Monocacy National Battlefield conducted their third seasons of deer reduction activities. Rock Creek Park completed its sixth season of deer management. Each park follows a deer management plan, developed according to the National Environmental Policy Act.

Last updated: April 29, 2019

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