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Department of Parks Announces Seasonal Park Closures for Annual Deer Management Operations, Reminds Drivers to Take Caution

by Kelli Holsendolph on September 27th, 2011

SILVER SPRING, MD—Today, the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) Montgomery County Department of Parks announces its fall 2011, winter 2012 deer management operations season and reminds drivers to take caution as deer activity increases in fall.

“The sound of gunfire may be heard during our deer management operations,” said Department of Parks Wildlife Ecologist Bill Hamilton. “Residents should know these sounds, while alarming, don’t represent a significant concern for safety.”

The department’s seasonal deer management operations will begin Friday, October 28, 2011 at Hoyles Mill Conservation Park and Woodstock Equestrian Special Park and will be completed on March 31, 2012.  These activities will result in several intermittent park closures. Park users are encouraged to note park closures, affecting specific park locations during this period which are noted on the department’s website at www.MontgomeryParks.org. Yellow and black “Park Closed” signs will be posted throughout and surrounding affected parks, at all park entrances and in communities surrounding these affected parks.

“The department’s deer management program has been designed with safety paramount,” added Hamilton. “During fifteen years of operations, having harvested over 10,000 deer, not one injurious accident has occurred.”

To complete the managed deer hunts, part of the annual deer management operations, eight county parks will be closed from sunrise until sunset on select dates from October 2011 through January 2012. From January 1, 2012 through March 31, 2012, additional county parks will be closed from 5:30 pm until sunrise—at night when the parks are closed to public use—for Maryland-National Capital Park Police sharpshooting of deer, another component of the seasonal operations.  A complete list of the scheduled park closures is below.

“The department’s efforts have been successful in reducing deer-related impacts in areas where deer management is ongoing,” said Hamilton. “Still, deer impacts are becoming increasingly prevalent in urban areas, such as Silver Spring, Chevy Chase, Cabin John, Rockville and others.”

In response to resident requests, the department will begin investigating Sligo Golf Course in Silver Spring for Maryland-National Capital Park Police sharpshooting of deer this winter. Information on new proposals will be made available to the public later
this fall and public comments will be accepted prior to any decision to proceed with this addition.

Many parks in urban areas are narrow, linear stream valley parks surrounded by dense development. These parks typically include much infrastructure, such as hard surface trails, athletic fields and courts, and public gathering spots. They are designed to provide for the densely populated communities they serve. Similarly, in urban areas where public use is less frequent, access to parkland is often very limited. Both circumstances require the most detailed attention to safe and legal weapons discharge with regard to introducing a deer management operation.

“Our objective, now, is to move forward in an effort to develop safe and effective programs to reduce deer-related impacts in the more urbanized county communities where residents have vocalized growing concerns about deer populations,” noted Hamilton. “Addressing deer population growth on parkland in these highly developed communities, while not insurmountable, is complex and will require thorough planning by the department and a high level of community support and commitment.”

This time of year, the Department of Parks also reminds residents and drivers the months of October through December are the breeding season for deer and activity will be at its annual peak.  During this period, deer activity becomes more frequent and unpredictable.

Drivers should keep the following tips in mind to avoid a collision:

  • Be more aware of deer on or near roadways and take
    precautions.
  • Be aware deer are most active from dusk through dawn.
  • Look for eye-shine along road edges.
  • Deer may travel in groups, so if you see one deer expect there to be others.
  • Pay attention to deer crossing signs; these signify areas where multiple accidents have occurred.
  • A collision with a deer can happen on any roadway in the county, but be particularly cautious in areas where you observe deer often and where woodlands run adjacent to the roadway.

 “The best precaution drivers can take is to drive the speed limit and to keep an eye out for deer along the roadside,” noted Hamilton. “Most importantly, if you encounter a deer on the roadway, brake cautiously and in control.”

For more on the Department of Parks’ deer management program, including a copy of the county’s deer management plan, Montgomery County Deer Management Work Group annual reports and information on deer management operations, visit www.ParksDeerManagement.org.

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MORE INFORMATION:

Montgomery Parks Fall and Winter 2011/2012 Deer Management Closures

Parks closed for managed deer hunts—closed sunrise through sunset on the dates indicated.

  • Blockhouse Point Conservation Park (Darnestown), Closed: Tuesdays, November 8 and 22,
    and December 13, 2011
  • Bucklodge Forest Conservation Park (Boyds), Closed: Fridays, December 2, 2011 and  January 13, 2012
  • Great Seneca Stream Valley Park, Unit 2 (Gaithersburg), Closed: Wednesdays, November 2 and 16 and December 14, 2011
  • Hoyles Mill Conservation Park and attached segments of Little Seneca Stream Valley Park (Boyds), Closed: Friday, October 28, Friday, November 4, Saturday,  November 12, Friday, November 18, Saturday, December 3, Friday, December 9, Saturday, December 17, 2011 and Friday, January 6, Saturday, January 14, and Saturday, January 21, 2012
  • Little Bennett Regional Park (Clarksburg), Closed: Wednesday, December 7 through Friday, December 9, 2011 and Wednesday, January 4 through Friday, January 6,2012
  • North Germantown Greenway Park (Clarksburg), Closed: Wednesdays, November 2 and 16 and December 14, 2011
  • Rachel Carson Conservation Park (Olney), Closed: Mondays, November 7 and 21, and December 12, 2011
  • Woodstock Equestrian Special Park (Beallsville), Closed: Fridays, October 28, November 4, December 2, 2011 and January 13, 2012

Parks closed for Park Police-based sharpshooting—closed 5:30 pm through sunrise January 1 through March 31, 2012.

  • Agricultural History Farm Park and attached segments of Rock Creek Stream Valley Park (Derwood)
  • Layhill Local Park (Wheaton)
  • Needwood Golf Course (Rockville)
  • North Branch Stream Valley Park, Units 2&3 (Norbeck)
  • North Branch Stream Valley Park, Unit 4 (Olney)
  • Northwest Branch Recreational Park (Aspen Hill)
  • Northwest Branch Stream Valley Park, Unit 7 (Norwood)
  • Northwest Golf Course (Wheaton)
  • Rock Creek Regional Park (Rockville)
  • Rock Creek Stream Valley Park, Unit 7 (Aspen Hill)
  • Wheaton Regional Park (Wheaton)
  • Woodlawn Special Park (Sandy Spring)

Contact:
Kelli Holsendolph
Media Relations Manager
Montgomery County Department of Parks
301-650-2866

From → Park Police, Parks

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