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Contact: Katie Liming, 202-619-7156
This year’s operations window for the annual deer population reduction at Rock Creek Park is scheduled to start on November 20, 2018, and end March 31, 2019. To carry out the Rock Creek Park White-tailed Deer Management Plan, temporary night-time road closures will be in effect to provide for visitor and employee safety during reduction activities. Commuters, including cyclists, are advised to plan alternate routes.
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 National Park Service 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 is normally closed.
Over the past 20 years, an overabundant white-tailed deer population has negatively impacted Rock Creek Park. Prompted by a marked decline in forest regeneration, Rock Creek Park initiated a public process to create a plan, finalized in 2012, which calls for reducing the population of deer to a level that will support long-term protection and restoration of native plants and promote a healthy and diverse forest.
A consistent deer population density of 15-20 per square mile is needed to allow regeneration in a healthy forest. Without continued management, deer populations would quickly rebound and again consume tree seedlings and other plants before they could grow. The National Park Service continues to monitor how well plants are growing with fewer deer, and their findings will help inform ongoing deer management actions.
Temporary Road Closures
During deer management operations, Piney Branch Parkway and Beach Drive NW between Rock Creek and Potomac Parkway and Broad Branch Road will remain open to traffic at all times.
The three-year project to completely rehabilitate Beach Drive is in its final phase, so Beach Drive is closed from Joyce Road NW to Wise Road NW and from Wise Road NW to the Maryland - District of Columbia Border. The closure applies to drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists. You can learn more about this work at go.nps.gov/beachdrive.
Certain roads, closed to vehicle traffic for the overall rehabilitation of Beach Drive NW, will remain closed. These include:
• Beach Drive NW, from Joyce Road NW to Wise Road NW.
• Beach Drive NW, from West Beach Drive NW to the Maryland/District of Columbia boundary.
• Bingham Drive NW.
• Sherrill Drive NW.
Temporary road closures from 5:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m. may include:
• Horse Stable Road NW.
• Ross Drive NW.
• Ridge Road NW, south of Grant Road NW.
• Glover Road NW, south of the Rock Creek Park Horse Center.
Temporary road closures from 6:45 p.m. to 4:00 a.m. may include:
• Beach Drive between Broad Branch Road NW and Military Road NW.
• Beach Drive between Wise Road NW and West Beach Drive NW.
• Wise Road NW.
• The entire length of Ridge Road NW.
• The entire length of Glover Road NW.
• Grant Road NW.
• Joyce Road NW.
• Morrow Drive NW.
• West Beach Drive NW at Parkside Drive NW.
• Stage Road NW.
Last updated: November 16, 2018