National Park Service

State of the Park Reports

State of the Park Report for Catoctin Mountain Park

Executive Summary

Catoctin Mountain Park
Catoctin Mountain Park

The mission of the National Park Service is to preserve unimpaired the natural and cultural resources and values of national parks for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations. NPS Management Policies (2006) state that "The Service will also strive to ensure that park resources and values are passed on to future generations in a condition that is as good as, or better than, the conditions that exist today."

As part of the stewardship of national parks for the American people, the NPS has begun to develop State of the Park reports to assess the overall status and trends of each park's resources. The NPS will use this information to improve park priority setting and to synthesize and communicate complex park condition information to the public in a clear and simple way.

The purpose of this State of the Park report for Catoctin Mountain Park is to:

  1. Provide to visitors and the American public a snapshot of the status and trend in the condition of a park's priority resources and values;
  2. Summarize and communicate complex scientific, scholarly, and park operations factual information and expert opinion using non-technical language and a visual format;
  3. Highlight park stewardship activities and accomplishments to maintain or improve the State of the Park;
  4. Identify key issues and challenges facing the park to help inform park management planning.

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The purpose of Catoctin Mountain Park (CATO) is to provide quality recreational opportunities in the Catoctin Mountains and serve as a setting and buffer for the Presidential Retreat, while protecting and conserving the park's natural and cultural environments as envisioned by New Deal conservation programs.

Catoctin Mountain Park is significant because it:

  • Is an early and continuing example of conservation practices resulting in the regeneration of an Eastern deciduous forest;
  • Provides outstanding scenic value at the transition of the Monocacy River Valley and the Catoctin Mountains in the Piedmont and Blue Ridge geologic provinces;
  • Provides diverse outdoor recreation opportunities in a mountain setting near the population centers of the mid-Atlantic region;
  • Provides pristine aquatic habitat for fishing and other recreational activities;
  • Serves as a setting for the Presidential Retreat, Camp David, a place where international leaders convene to discuss world peace and international diplomacy;
  • Was one of 46 Recreational Demonstration Areas established in the 1930s, and represents an outstanding example of New Deal Era programs to recast the landscape for recreation and conservation purposes;
  • Is the location of the oldest operating cabin camps for the disabled in the nation, and is one of the original locations that the Office of Strategic Services trained, and hosted the Nation's first Job Corps Center; and
  • Protects the cultural heritage of the Catoctin Mountains that dates back 3,500 years, ranging from stone tool making, to agriculture, to charcoal production.

Catoctin Mountain Park has responsibility for managing natural and cultural resources of national significance to the American people. The items below provide examples of stewardship activities and accomplishments by park staff and partners of Catoctin Mountain Park to maintain or improve the condition of park resources and values for this and future generations:

Natural Resources

  • Deer management strategy has been designed to maintain the integrity of the forest, including working with the public to develop the Environmental Impact Statement, and monitoring the regeneration of forest plants
  • Reduction of deer numbers to allow recovery of forest
  • Continuing efforts to reduce invasive plant and animal species, such as the removal of barberry and other alien plant species.
  • Exotic Plant Management Team (EPMT) work conducted annually to control invasive plants
  • Monitoring of forest vegetation by the National Capital Region Inventory & Monitoring (I&M) Network and park staff
  • Actively monitoring fish populations in partnership with Maryland Department of Natural Resources (MDNR)
  • Access to streams is restricted during trout spawning season to protect fish
  • Efforts have been taken to reduce sedimentation into streams that harm fish, such as installing silt fences
  • Monitoring of water quality is done monthly by I&M and park staff
  • Joint fisheries agreement with the State of Maryland
  • Completing Natural Resource Condition Assessment to synthesize existing natural resource data for the park
  • Riparian buffer planting to reduce erosion
  • Working with partners to improve stream condition by establishing native plants outside of the park
  • Working with maintenance crews to conduct compliance before taking actions that affect natural and cultural resources
  • Geoscientist in the Park to analyze proper placement of trails based on information from the park soils map
  • Partnership with United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service to monitor gypsy moths and control outbreaks
  • Fire management plan. The park is trying to get an active prescribed burning program in place
  • The Park's Foundation Document has been recently updated to identify priority resources based on the park's purpose and significance

Cultural Resources

  • A four-year archeological survey was recently completed
  • Ongoing condition assessments for archeological resources and other cultural resources
  • National register nomination for the entire park completed
  • A new baseline has been established for cultural resource inventories in park, to provide information for the Cultural Landscape Inventory and List of Classified Structures
  • Roof replacement on historical buildings
  • Historic stone wall repaired at visitor center
  • Efforts to inventory and remove graffiti from historic buildings
  • Protecting cabins by staining them to protect from exposure to elements

Visitor Experience

  • The park has significantly increased the number of education and outreach programs, including new school programs
  • Camp Misty Mount and the Adirondack Shelters are now part of the National Campground Reservation System for easier reservations by visitors
  • Efforts are being made to connect the northern portion of the Catoctin Trail to the Appalachian Trail
  • All wayside interpretive displays have been improved
  • Seamless cooperation with adjacent Cunningham Falls State Park
  • Presentations to schools about deer reduction efforts
  • CATO received the regional Support to Interpretation award from the National Capital Region
  • Law enforcement active patrolling of trails to locate hazard trees and other items that might affect visitor safety
  • Foot patrols by law enforcement through camps for visitor and resource protection
  • A section of trail was developed parallel to a road to improve visitor safety (visitors previously had to hike on the road)
  • Boy Scouts and other volunteer groups have contributed considerable time to help the park maintain trails; scouts completed access ramps at Greentop cabins
  • Artist in Residence planned for both spring and summer, with plans for gallery shows in Frederick
  • More than 600 volunteers have contributed more than 12,000 volunteer-hours of time to help the park maintain resources
  • Park is working to develop volunteer leaders who will in turn organize volunteer groups
  • Second Nature, Bridging the Watershed, and First Bloom programs
  • School groups organized and brought to the park by Latino-American group
  • Volunteers from GeoCorps developed a geology website for the park, and conducted erosion studies in streams
  • Re-establishment of partnership with Job Corps. Job Corps workers improved a park trail to improve wheelchair accessibility.

Park Infrastructure

  • Installing new lighting fixtures with energy reduction features such as motion sensors, and orienting them downward to reduce light pollution
  • Hazard trees removed along roads and in camp areas to improve visitor safety
  • Primary electric transmission lines through the park were replaced
  • Park is instituting a more organized trail maintenance system, similar to "adopt a trail"
  • CATO has joined the Climate Friendly Parks program, which is a network of parks nationwide that are putting climate friendly behavior at the forefront of sustainability planning. A student intern was hired in 2012 through the Student Conservation Association to conduct an emissions inventory and develop an action plan for the park.
  • Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) program since 1970s
  • Fire engine with operators acquired for fire protection of all resources


Catoctin Mountain Park celebrated its 75th anniversary in 2011 but last completed a comprehensive General Management Plan in 1976 to define its mission, roles, and priorities. A comprehensive park plan, referred to as a Foundation Document and its associated Resource Stewardship Strategy are crucial to filling this planning deficiency. These plans will define and update our mission, roles, and priorities to serve the visitors and protect the park resources in the 21st century.

In preparation for the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service in 2016, Catoctin was also selected to complete a State of the Park Report. Park staff identified priority objectives and action items to guide management over the next five years, protecting the park's natural and cultural resources and developing new opportunities for visitors. The park also worked with a variety of experts in the fields of natural and cultural resources, interpretation, law enforcement, and facility management to develop a set of baseline assessments that can now serve as a management planning model for other national parks across the country.

Fiscal constraints, changing visitor demographics, and a need to diversify our workforce are all ushering in complex challenges for parks as the NPS enters its second century. The State of the Park Report will help us strategically access and communicate park conditions and our current plan for the future. Our ability to plan ahead necessitates that we have objective baseline data to assess our park operations and articulate plans that address the multifaceted needs of the parks.

Resource Preservation

The park has many significant resources to preserve, manage, protect and interpret. The park also conserves the geo-physical processes and biological communities that together form this unique natural area. Monitoring results has revealed that diverse taxonomic groups such as rodents, birds, lizards, and snakes remain stable. There are concerns for the effects of climate change, though still undetermined, may dramatically alter the mountains. A number of alien, invasive plants and animals already have a foothold and the NPS needs to remain diligent in its efforts to limit their continued expansion. These require that we devote attention to monitoring and protecting the natural resources of the park; including the land, water, and air resources surrounding us. In order to assess all these resources and their competing needs, we must develop these comprehensive management plans to protect and interpret them.

Natural Resources

Protect Watersheds

  • Headwaters/well head protection
  • Riparian buffer acquisition and protection
  • Brook Trout preservation
  • Sedimentation prevention
  • Geologic hazard identification

Water Quality. The park's water quality is impacted by both developed (largely permitted and regulated) and agricultural (largely unregulated) activities. Quantity of water flow to and within the park during drought has decreased over the past 30 years and impacted water quality. Significant water quality improvements have been seen where regulations and agreements have addressed quantity and quality issues (e.g., dissolved oxygen and temperature). However, significant improvements remain to be made (e.g., sediment, phosphorus, and nitrate). These improvements will require changes in both upstream agricultural activities and nonpoint source runoff. Stream sediment and nutrients will continue to affect the water quality and habitat of Big Hunting and Owens Creeks, downstream from their junction.

Protect Wildlife

  • Habitat and migration corridors protection

Fish and Wildlife. The park has an adequate assessment on numbers and condition of most fish and wildlife species in the corridor. Bioblitzes could help us confirm our data snapshots of what is present. White-nose syndrome is likely on the way for local bat populations and perhaps Chronic Wasting Disease in deer. Between warming temperatures and increasing numbers of invasive species and diseases, more and more native species are losing ground. The park needs to find ways to quantify and address these issues. Some of the changes are likely due to visitor impacts, and determining an appropriate number of visitors and their uses to the habitat without impairing it is a key planning issue for the park.

Protect/Restore Vegetation

  • Riparian buffer protection
  • Invasive species control
  • Restoration of fire into the ecosystem

Although the park is 97% forested, there are still riparian buffers that need to be planted both inside and outside the park. While the park can inventory, treat, and attempt to control these species on park lands, it has little to no control over how park neighbors manage their land. Private lands around the park continue to be seed beds for invasive species that infest the park. Serious infestations have had major effects on the landscape. Combined with the anticipated effects of accelerated climate change, which may include warmer winters, our invasive plant problems could become much worse.

Invasive Species: Several invasive species threaten to change the ecosystem in the coming decades.

  • Emerald Ash Borer: Catoctin contains millions of ash trees the arrival of this pest seems almost inevitable
  • Hemlock Woolly Adelgid: Hemlock vegetation along park streams is rapidly disappearing
  • Gypsy Moth: is once again cycling through oak populations
  • American Chestnut Blight continues to scour this native hardwood

Another compounding factor has been the removal of fire from the park's ecosystem for nearly 100 years. The forest evolved under a naturally occurring fire regime that limited alien species encroachment throughout the park. These fires encouraged native plant growth. A new prescribed fire strategy is being developed and tested.

Protect Air Quality

  • Monitor air quality in park to protect views and vistas
  • Protect night sky to ensure normal operation of ecosystem processes (mating, migration, etc.)

Catoctin Mountain Park is continuously looking for ways to partner with other agencies to improve the management of both natural and cultural resources. External developments that may impact park resources include light, heat and water pollution that will affect the soundscape, night skies, and the aquatic environment.

Climate Change

Overshadowing all of our concerns for the natural and cultural resources are the potential consequences of rapid climate change. Continued increases in air temperatures along with predicted changes in precipitation, relative humidity, storm frequency and storm intensity will bring about great changes in the ecological communities we know and understand today. However, with the likely extirpation of some species and the new introductions of others, the full ramifications of those changes (and how to plan for them) remain unpredictable (Harley et al. 2006, Hoegh-Guldberg and Bruno 2010).

Reduction of greenhouse gas emissions at Catoctin will largely focus on reduction of electric consumption as it is 70% of the source of our emissions. Through educational outreach programs, awareness of the impact of invasive species on native flora and fauna may open new opportunities to work more closely with private landowners.

Cultural Resources

Archeological Sites: A comprehensive archeological survey has been completed for the park. Currently and historically, most archeological sites are located as the result of development projects, which often leads to documentation and destruction of the sites. Baseline information that describes the integrity of historic and archeological sites is also critical to understanding and managing these unique resources.

Cultural Anthropology: An Ethnographic Overview and Assessment has not been completed for the park, therefore the extent of ethnographic resources is not fully understood. Existing oral histories provide some information on potential ethnographic associations with people who participated in the New Deal-era programs that established the Recreational Demonstration Area that would become Catoctin Mountain Park. There are no identified contemporary tribal associations with park resources. Baseline documentation of ethnographic groups and resources is critical to understanding and managing these unique resources.

Historic Structures: With limited financial resources, long-term sustainability of historic structures will continue to be a challenge. Historic structures require constant attention and present safety and accessibility concerns. Historic structures often do not meet current ADA requirements, nor do they meet modern fire codes for sprinklers and other safety infrastructure. Upgrading offices, museums and other public spaces to meet modern requirements is a major challenge for the park.

Cultural Landscapes: The completion of the Cultural Landscape Report is a park priority. The park contains two Historical Districts, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and the entire park is worthy of admission as a Natural Register Historic District.

Curatorial Collections: The Park has a large collection of historical photos and artifacts. Updated and expanded museum exhibits, visual storage of artifacts, and enhanced public access to curated photographs, records, and artifacts will allow greater research opportunities and additional public information through popular articles and scientific and scholarly works. The challenge is to protect these artifacts while providing access and presenting these materials in ways that are discoverable, accessible and relevant to the researcher and public needs. These materials effectively tell the story of Catoctin and the events that preceded and followed the park establishment and transformed the demographics, culture, and environment of this part of Maryland.

Visitor Services

The National Park Service as an agency is trying to improve connections with underserved demographic groups that visit National Parks infrequently. As visitation declines in the park Catoctin plans to take advantage of its location within metropolitan Washington, DC and Baltimore regions to increase engagement with minorities and urban populations. At the same time, the park is using the internet and distance learning programs to inform students about the park's resources within their own classrooms. Updating and expanding digital media programs are a key component in offering new visitor opportunities to a public. Social media and web access to the events and undertakings of the park will be instrumental for increasing visitor knowledge of historical events and understanding scientific and scholarly research related to park resources.

Public transportation to the park has decreased over the last several years. In addition, one of the greatest changes schools face is transporting students on field trips. Catoctin plans to enhance both public and student transportation to the park through partnerships. The park is developing additional programming for youth through the YCC, SCA and VIP programs. The goal is to provide work experiences such as internships as well as educational opportunities.

Scenic driving is the number one visitor activity in Catoctin Mountain Park.

  • Ensuring visitor and employee safety on Route 77 and roads surrounding the park.
  • Closures to address both resource and security needs

Our law enforcement mission to protect the Presidential Retreat is unique within the National Park System and requires rapid responses on short notice due to changing world events. Our intent is to provide an environment where world leaders can relax and reflect upon important issues in a peaceful and secure setting.

Organizational Effectiveness

Park managers are searching for ways to improve staff performance and productivity. Increased travel restrictions leave fewer opportunities for professional enrichment, and collaboration with other NPS staff. The current economic crisis, annual budget uncertainty, and changes in human resources hiring practices and requirements are eroding staff morale. Addressing housing, administrative space, commuting, and quality of life issues, cost of living, housing, etc. in support of staff and volunteer retention is a pressing need.

Park Operations

Catoctin Mountain Park presents a wide variety of operational challenges that are not faced by many parks in the National Park system. The rural nature of the park and the small staff size leads to a reliance upon others from the NPS, other agencies of the federal government, and partners within the community to accomplish the park's mission. The federal government has recently been directed to be more business-minded in regard to our budgets, staffing facility management costs, which include an examination of "life-cycle" costs for all park assets. The funding, staffing and maintenance required to operate facilities must be carefully considered in planning for a sustainable operation. Partnerships with local governments, civic institutions, non-profits and citizens will be a critical component of the long-term strategy to maintain the existing portfolio of park assets.

Motor Vehicle Fleet

One of our greatest sources of carbon emissions is from vehicle use and transportation. Park staff would like to reduce the use of fossil fuels in the management of the park. However, costs of electric vehicles and hybrids (NEV's) are equal to or greater than the cost of using gasoline vehicles. The park will continue its commitment to the use of these vehicles, and seek funding to further enhance its electric fleet.

Park Infrastructure and Facilities Sustainability

Current office space is inadequate for staff needs in some places and oversized in others. At times, crowded offices inhibit productive office work. In addition, current office space (and some visitor infrastructure as well) is not compliant with the American with Disabilities Act. If staffing continues to decline, there will be additional opportunities to reduce our development footprint below 3% of our total land area by consolidating office functions.

While we recently completed a major rehabilitation of our electrical system, the same need exists in our water and sewer system. The park has worked to improve sustainable practices in recent years. In the fall of 2012, the park Environmental Management Team developed a new EMS Program that will help meet the goals of the NPS Green Parks Plan and improve our ability to share information with staff and the public. One of the greatest sustainability challenges the park faces is increased energy costs. Catoctin has the ability to greatly reduce its consumption of fossil fuels and GHG emissions by replacing existing appliance, HVAC, and lighting systems and in some cases by closing or demolishing obsolete facilities.

Partnerships and Community Involvement

Catoctin Mountain Park has a long history of positive, productive partnerships that assisted with the original creation and development of the park over the last 75 years. The 2006 NPS Management Policies provide us with guidance for developing creative partnerships that ensure the public enjoyment of the park while simultaneously protecting our parks resources from commercialization and heavy-handed economic development that may not be compatible with our mission, or policies favoring specific individual or group over the interests of the general public. While we recognize the beneficial contributions from our existing partnerships, we must also reassess the role, value and appropriateness of our partnerships within the context of our agency's primary mission and the enabling legislation of the park.

Catoctin exists within a 20,000 acre public lands complex that includes two state and two municipal watersheds. A key challenge is working with adjacent land owners with multiple perspectives around the park boundaries. Many members of the park staff have made great strides at continuing and increasing their involvement in community programs such as volunteer fire departments, school and youth programs, and special events.

There has been considerable success with the Volunteer in Parks program and we need to grow additional leadership in our partnership and volunteer communities in order to further expand this program.

Enhancing every visitor's experience at the park can also be accomplished through partnerships and community involvement. Opportunities to engage the park's stakeholders who rely on the tourism industry through orientation and education are being explored as a way to strengthen gateway community relationships and public access to park resources.


Catoctin Mountain Park remains an important conservation area at the front range of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Maryland. The park preserves a rich mosaic of cultural and natural resources. In collaboration with its many partners, the NPS continues to strive to understand, monitor and preserve these important resources for their continued enjoyment by present and future generations.

The NPS Centennial in 2016 is a time for us to reassess how well we have met the mandates of our mission to protect, preserve and provide for the enjoyment of these nationally significant resources along the Appalachian Front Range. In the past, the NPS did not have a fully objective set of metrics that could be applied consistently to all parks across the country to evaluate their conditions. The State of the Park process provides us with clear and convenient metrics for the first time. This report will allow us to assess our previous efforts and evaluate their effectiveness in accomplishing our mission. In areas where we are doing well, we can maintain course; but, in realms where we have not met our mandate, we will plan accordingly to use available resources to address the greatest needs. Challenging times require us to be creative in developing new strategies, partnerships, and ways of doing park business to ensure the well-being of these significant resources for future generations to come.

Summary Table

The summary table, below, and the supporting information that follows, provide an overall assessment of the condition of priority resources and values at Catoctin Mountain Park based on scientific and scholarly studies and expert opinion. Reference conditions that represent "healthy" ecosystem parameters, and regulatory standards (such as those related to air or water quality) provide the rationale to describe current resource status. In coming years, rapidly evolving information regarding climate change and associated effects will inform our goals for managing park resources, and may alter how we measure the trend in condition of park resources. Thus, reference conditions, regulatory standards, and/or our judgment about resource status or trend may evolve as the rate of climate change accelerates and we respond to novel conditions. In this context, the status and trends documented here provide a useful point-in-time baseline to inform our understanding of emerging change, as well as a synthesis to share as we build broader climate change response strategies with partners.

The Status and Trend symbols used in the summary table below and throughout this report are summarized in the following key. The background color represents the current condition status, the direction of the arrow summarizes the trend in condition, and the thickness of the outside line represents the degree of confidence in the assessment. In some cases, the arrow is omitted because data are not sufficient for calculating a trend (e.g., data from a one-time inventory or insufficient sample size).

Condition Status Trend in Condition Confidence in
Condition of resource warrants significant concern Warrants Significant Concern Condition is improving Condition is Improving High confidence in the assessment High
Condition of resource warrants moderate concern Warrants Moderate Concern Condition is unchanging Condition is Unchanging Medium confidence in the assessment Medium
Resource is in good condition Resource is in Good Condition Condition is deteriorating Condition is Deteriorating Low confidence in the assessment Low

Examples of how the symbols should be interpreted:

Resource is in good condition; condition is improving; high confidence in the assessment. Resource is in good condition; condition is improving; high confidence in the assessment.
Condition of resource warrants moderate concern; condition is unchanging; medium confidence in the assessment. Condition of resource warrants moderate concern; condition is unchanging; medium confidence in the assessment.
Condition of resource warrants significant concern; trend in condition is unknown or not applicable; low confidence in the assessment. Condition of resource warrants significant concern; trend in condition is unknown or not applicable; low confidence in the assessment.
Priority Resource or Value Condition Status/Trend Rationale
Natural Resources
Air Quality Condition of resource warrants significant concern; condition is improving; high confidence in the assessment. Estimated ozone, nitrogen and sulfur wet deposition, and average visibility at Catoctin Mountain Park for 2005–2009 warrant significant concern based on NPS Air Resources Division benchmarks. Learn more »
Geologic Resources Resource is in good condition; condition is unchanging; medium confidence in the assessment. Some drainages may be more susceptible to erosion (Whiskey Still Creek) or sedimentation (Owens Creek) than others, and the park has introduced a number of measures to ensure bank stability. Two tectonic caves occur in the park, but karst is not present. Most mountain slopes in the park are less than 25%, and natural slope processes are operating unimpaired.Learn more »
Water Quantity and Quality
– Owens Creek
Resource is in good condition; condition is unchanging; high confidence in the assessment. Owens Creek has an overall evaluation of Good condition based on selected measures of water chemistry, indices of the benthic macroinvertebrate community and physical habitat, and streamflow measurements. Occasional high values for water temperature and specific conductance are of concern because of their negative effects on fish, and extremely high phosphorus values are of significant concern.Learn more »
Water Quantity and Quality
– Big Hunting Creek
Resource is in good condition; condition is unchanging; high confidence in the assessment. Big Hunting Creek has an overall evaluation of Good condition based on selected measures of water chemistry, indices of the benthic macroinvertebrate community and physical habitat, and streamflow measurements. Occasional high values for water temperature and specific conductance are of concern because of their negative effects on fish, and extremely high phosphorus values are of significant concern.Learn more »
Eastern Deciduous Forest Condition of resource warrants moderate concern; condition is deteriorating; medium confidence in the assessment. Forest covers 95% of the park, and 28 native species that are listed by the State of Maryland as rare, threatened, endangered, or on the State watch list occur in the park. CATO has the lowest rate of native tree seedling regeneration among 39 national parks monitored between Virginia and Maine, and is being adversely affected by overbrowsing by deer. Alien herbaceous plants were found in 69% of forest monitoring plots.Learn more »
Fish Communities Condition of resource warrants moderate concern; trend in condition is unknown or not applicable; medium confidence in the assessment. The median Fish Index of Biotic Integrity for four stream sites at CATO in 2006 and 2010 was 3.8, which is rated as Fair. Three measures of the abundance of brook trout were rated as Fair or Poor at three stream sites using data from 1989–2011. Learn more »
Wildlife Communities Resource is in good condition; condition is unchanging; high confidence in the assessment. 164 species of birds have been documented at CATO. The Bird Community Index score showed medium integrity, and has remained stable over the past five years. The density of white-tailed deer in the park is extremely high, with 87 deer per square mile in 2010. 17 species of amphibians and 13 species of reptiles have been documented in the park.Learn more »
Landscape Dynamics Resource is in good condition; condition is unchanging; high confidence in the assessment. 95% of the area within the park is covered by forest, and 75% of the area within a buffer that is five times the size of the park is forested. Only 0.2% of the area within the park, and 2.9% of the area within a buffer that is five times the size of the park, is covered by roads and parking areas and other impervious surfacesLearn more »
Cultural Resources
Archeological Resources Resource is in good condition; condition is unchanging; high confidence in the assessment. Archeological surveys have been conducted for all areas in the park with high potential for archeological sites. 100% of the 131 known archeological resources listed in the NP Archeological Sites Management Information System (ASMIS) database are in GOOD condition.Learn more »
Cultural Anthropology Condition of resource warrants significant concern; condition is deteriorating; high confidence in the assessment. The completeness of documentation is low (5 to 25% complete) for the association of various groups and users of the park. There is no ethnographic overview or systematic understanding of information.Learn more »
Cultural Landscapes Condition of resource warrants moderate concern; condition is improving; high confidence in the assessment. Cultural Landscape Inventories have been completed for only 2 of the 6 potential cultural landscapes in the park. The Catoctin Mountain Park parent cultural landscape is in FAIR condition, and the Camp Misty Mount component landscape is evaluated as being in GOOD condition.Learn more »
Historic Structures in Camp Greentop and Camp Misty Mount Condition of resource warrants moderate concern; condition is unchanging; high confidence in the assessment. The List of Classified Structures database and National Register nominations are 100% complete for the historic structures in Camp Greentop and Camp Misty Mount, but no historic structure reports or historic structure assessment reports have been done. Of the 64 structures at Camp Greentop and Camp Misty Mount, 79% are assessed to be in GOOD condition, 17% are in FAIR condition, and 3% are in POOR condition. The park is able to repair/stabilize cabins at a rate of only approximately one cabin per fiscal year.Learn more »
Other Historic Structures Resource is in good condition; condition is unchanging; high confidence in the assessment. Of the 3 other historic structures listed in the List of Classified Structures, 2 are in GOOD condition and 1 is in FAIR condition. However, at least six other historic structures at Braestrup Tract and Mission 66 areas (Owens Creek Area & Chestnut Area) may be National Register-eligible but have not yet been entered into the LCS.Learn more »
Museum Collections Condition of resource warrants moderate concern; condition is unchanging; high confidence in the assessment. 100% of objects are catalogued, except for archeological artifacts recently obtained by the park. Facility conditions for specimens stored at the park museum are inadequate because the room containing the collection is not climate controlled. The majority of the park's archival resources have not yet been accessioned or evaluated.Learn more »
Visitor Experience
Number of Visitors Condition of resource warrants moderate concern; condition is deteriorating; high confidence in the assessment. The number of visitors to Catoctin in 2012 was estimated at 263,797, which was about half of the mean annual visitation (496,874) for the 10-year period of 2002–2011. There are many repeat visitors from year to year. Learn more »
Visitor Satisfaction and Safety Resource is in good condition; condition is unchanging; high confidence in the assessment. The percent of visitors who said they were satisfied with their visit to CATO in 2008 through 2012 was 100%, 92%, 98%, 95% and 100%, for an average of 97.0% of visitors satisfied. Safety briefings are conducted as part of all interpretation and education programs. The number of reported visitor injuries or incidents is very low, with an incident rate of 2 per 100,000 visitor days. Learn more »
Educational and Outreach Programs Condition of resource warrants moderate concern; condition is improving; high confidence in the assessment. The number of educational programs provided by staff at Catoctin has increased over the past five years, and attendance numbers are increasing. Outreach programs include roving interpretation inside the park as well as programs and presentations in the community.Learn more »
Recreational Opportunities Resource is in good condition; condition is deteriorating; medium confidence in the assessment. The number of people camping in the park has been slowly decreasing based on visitor counts and campsite registrations and receipts, which could be related to an overall decrease in outdoor recreation nation-wide. Hiking, fishing, mushroom and berry gathering, scenic driving, wildlife viewing, picnicking, and photography are all important to visitors based on visitor surveys.Learn more »
Natural Landscape Experience Condition of resource warrants moderate concern; trend in condition is unknown or not applicable; low confidence in the assessment. Views and overlooks, dark night skies, and natural soundscapes are all important values for visitors based on visitor use surveys, but baseline measurements and additional studies are needed to determine status and trends in these values.Learn more »
Volunteers and Partnerships Resource is in good condition; condition is unchanging; high confidence in the assessment. Approximately 600 volunteers contribute approximately 12,000 hours of service per year at CATO. The park engages in a wide range of formal and informal partnerships as part of maintaining and improving the condition of resources and the visitor experience for this and future generations.Learn more »
Park Infrastructure
Overall Facility Condition Index Condition of resource warrants moderate concern; condition is improving; high confidence in the assessment. The 261 assets at CATO have an overall FCI of 0.109, which is Fair based on industry and NPS standards. The FCI is the cost of repairing an asset divided by the cost of replacing it, and is used to measure the condition of buildings, roads, trails, water systems, and other park infrastructure assets.Learn more »
Energy Consumption Resource is in good condition; condition is improving; high confidence in the assessment. Energy usage (BTUs per gross square footage of buildings) at the park in 2012 was 35.2% which was lower than the average for the previous 4 years (Source: NPS Annual Energy Report). The park uses motion-sensor lighting and inspects buildings to keep electricity bills down.Learn more »
Water Consumption Resource is in good condition; condition is improving; high confidence in the assessment. Water consumption at the park in 2012 was 37.9% lower than the 4-year average for 2008–2011 (Source: NPS Annual Energy Report).Learn more »

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