Natural Resource Condition Assessments for Prince William Forest Park

The Natural Resource Condition Assessment (NRCA) Program provides framework, funding, and publishing support to parks to aid in the synthesis and documentation of natural resource conditions. Condition assessment reports are a tool to describe selected park resources, and record a snapshot of their current condition, identify trends, and identify potential or current threats and stressors. Understanding the condition and trend of natural resources is key for parks and NPS planners to appropriately prioritize and allocate stewardship resources.

An arched wooden bridge over the South Fork Quantico Creek surrounded by fall foliage.
South Valley Bridge.

NPS photo.

Prince William Forest Park is located in Virginia, 35 miles south of Washington D.C. This park is the largest example of a Piedmont forest and serves as a sanctuary for a variety of plants and animals that are threatened by development outside of the park. The ridges and slopes support a mixed oak forest, whereas the lower slopes support a mesic hardwood forest above the floodplain of the local waterways. Because of its location covering two physiographic provinces— the Coastal Plain and the Piedmont—and its location in a transition zone between northern and southern climates, the park has a wide variety of habitats that can support healthy breeding populations of numerous animal species.

Traditional NRCA Report: 2015

In an effort to better understand the natural resources and processes present in this park, a Natural Resource Condition Assessment was conducted and published in 2015. Representatives from the National Park Service and the University of Maryland collaborated to determine park needs and available data. This team chose four resource topics and their respective indicators to assess:

- Water resources

- Air quality

- Biological integrity

- Landscape dynamics

Overall, the natural resources in Prince William Forest Park varied. Water resources and landscape dynamics were considered to be in good condition, biological integrity was given a condition rating of moderate concern, and air quality was given a condition rating of significant concern. The natural resources in this park are threatened by regionally poor air quality, overpopulation of deer, and exotic species and pests.

For other reports and natural resource datasets visit the NPS Data Store.

Source: Data Store Collection 7765 (results presented are a subset). To search for additional information, visit the Data Store.

Last updated: February 25, 2022


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