News Release

National Park Service will reduce deer populations in Rock Creek Park and other national parkland in DC

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Date: August 13, 2020
Contact: Megan Nortrup, 202-339-8314

Since 2013, when the National Park Service (NPS) began reducing the deer population in Rock Creek Park, the park’s tree seedling density has more than doubled.  

The NPS plans to reduce deer populations this fall and winter in Rock Creek Park and, for the first time, will include other areas under Rock Creek Park's management. These areas could include Melvin Hazen Park, Soapstone Valley Park, Pinehurst Parkway, Glover Archbold Park, Battery Kemble Park, and Fort Totten Park, among others.  

“We are encouraged by how tree seedlings are thriving since we’ve been actively managing the deer population in Rock Creek Park,” Rock Creek Park Superintendent Julia Washburn said. “There are other parks under our management that show heavy damage from too many deer, so we’re working to expand our success to these areas.” 

An extensive environmental review process and management plan, completed in 2012, authorizes the NPS to reduce the deer population in all national park areas under Rock Creek Park’s management. Learn more about the park’s Environmental Impact Statement and Management Plan:  

Extensive safety measures will be in place to protect park visitors and neighbors during operations. Biologists, who are also highly trained firearms experts from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, will be working under the direction of NPS natural resource management specialists and in coordination with U.S. Park Police and local law enforcement to conduct reduction actions at night when the park areas are normally closed. 

The most recent 2019-2020 deer reduction work in Rock Creek Park, produced 1,320 lbs of venison, which the NPS donated to DC Central Kitchen, providing hundreds of meals to District families in need. The NPS plans to continue donating venison from deer reduction operations.   

For further information including a list of sites managed by Rock Creek Park, visit:  

Last updated: August 13, 2020

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