National Park Service proposes plan to manage deer populations at C&O Canal and Harpers Ferry

A view of the forest floor between trees
Forests with dense deer populations, like this one at Great Falls, often contain little to no understory vegetation as deer will feed on many of the plant species that generally thrive in these habitats.

NPS Photo

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News Release Date: April 17, 2017

Contact: Jeremy Barnum, 202-619-7177

WASHINGTON — The National Park Service (NPS) today made available for public review and comment its plan to reduce overabundant deer populations that threaten the natural beauty and historic scenery at Harpers Ferry and Chesapeake & Ohio (C&O) Canal National Historical Parks.
 

Overabundant white-tailed deer damage vegetation and eat nearly all the tree seedlings, which compromises the forests’ ability to sustain themselves. The high number of deer is also destroying smaller trees and shrubs that provide critical habitat for native birds and other wildlife.

The White-Tailed Deer Management Plan and Environmental Assessment evaluates a range of approaches to achieve and maintain sustainable numbers of deer in the two parks to protect historic landscapes, support healthy native vegetation and manage the spread of chronic wasting disease in deer.

The plan analyzes four possible alternatives for managing the parks’ deer populations. The NPS has identified “Alternative D: Combined Lethal and Nonlethal Deer Management” as the most appropriate method to manage the deer populations. Under this plan, sharpshooting, limited capture and euthanasia, and reproductive controls could be used where and when appropriate to manage the deer population.

There are four parks in the national capital region that already have approved and implemented white-tailed deer management plans: Antietam National Battlefield (Md.), Catoctin Mountain Park (Md.), Monocacy National Battlefield (Md.) and Rock Creek Park (DC).

How to Comment:

Members of the public are encouraged to provide comments online through the National Park Service Planning, Environment, and Public Comment (PEPC) project website at https://parkplanning.nps.gov/NHPdeermanagement, (click on “C&O Canal NHP and Harpers Ferry NHP Deer Management Plan and EA”) no later than May 16, 2017.

The NPS uses PEPC to manage official correspondence and analyze public comments during the planning process. Comments received during the public comment period will help the NPS evaluate issues and concerns to be further addressed in the environmental review process.

Written comments may be sent to:

C&O Canal NHP
Attn: White-tailed Deer Management Plan EA
1850 Dual Highway, Suite 100
Hagerstown, Maryland 21740-6620

Or:

Harpers Ferry NHP
Attn: White-tailed Deer Management Plan EA
P.O. Box 65
Harpers Ferry, WV 25425-0065

Comments must be received by May 16, 2017. Please be aware that all information submitted—including personal identifying information such as addresses, phone numbers and email addresses—may be made available to the public. Requests to withhold such personal identifying information from public release will be considered but there is no guarantee that the information will be withheld.



 

Three public review meetings are also scheduled for early May, 2017:


May 2nd, 6:00 – 8:00 pm
Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park
Park Headquarters
1850 Dual Highway Hagerstown, MD 21740

May 3rd, 6:00 – 8:00 pm
Harpers Ferry National Historical Park
Stephen T. Mather Training Center
51 Mather Place Harpers Ferry, WV 25425

May 4th, 6:00 – 8:00 pm
Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park
Great Falls Tavern Visitor Center
11710 MacArthur Boulevard Potomac, MD 20854

Last updated: April 26, 2017

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

1850 Dual Highway, Suite 100
Hagerstown, MD 21740

Phone:

301-739-4200

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