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Montgomery Parks Announces Seasonal Park Closures for Annual Deer Management Operations

by Abbigail Irelan on September 21st, 2012

Public comment is sought through October 26, on proposal to add Rock Creek Stream Valley Park, Unit 2 to program.

SILVER SPRING, MDThe Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) Montgomery Parks will launch its fall 2012, winter 2013 deer management operations season on October 22 resulting in several intermittent park closures spanning through the end of March. Lottery-based Managed Deer Hunts, Cooperative Managed Deer Hunts and Park Police-based Sharpshooting Operations will take place in 25 parks in the Montgomery Parks system. (A complete schedule of park closure dates and times is listed at the end of the release.)

The managed hunts are conducted in the most humane way possible by specially trained Park Police sharpshooters and qualified, pre-screened hunters selected by a lottery system. More details on the lottery-based programs are available at www.parksdeermanagement.org.

The deer management program began in 1996 following recommendations from the Montgomery County Deer Management Work Group (DMWG), and in response to citizen concerns about the increasingly adverse impacts of the burgeoning deer population on local neighborhoods.

Program Expansion Open for Public Comment

Recent concerns from residents about the deer population at Rock Creek Stream Valley Park, Unit 2, Chevy Chase prompted an examination of the park. The study indicated that 40 – 50 deer inhabit the 275 acres of parkland located within the boundary of Interstate 495 and East West Highway—three times the density recommended for the area. As a result, Montgomery Parks has proposed adding the park to the deer management program, and is accepting public comment through October 26. To be considered, comments must include a valid name and address, and will be posted online (absent of these) at www.parksdeermanagment.org for public review. Comments may be submitted by email to

MCP-deermanagement@montgomeryparks.org or by U.S. Mail to:

 M-NCPPC, Deer Management Initiatives,
12535 Milestone Manor Lane
Germantown, MD  20876.
 
Montgomery County has proven to be a very conducive environment for deer population growth,” said Montgomery Parks Wildlife Ecologist Bill Hamilton. “An expansive patchwork of public and private green space provides excellent edge habitat rich of food and cover.  These habitat features, and limited hunting, provide deer the necessary sanctuary to grow unmitigated in the absence of checks and balances. The result has been an increase in deer-human conflicts including deer related automobile accidents, damage to agricultural crops and residential gardens, and concerns about Lyme disease. Such impacts are compounded when deer are more densely concentrated into smaller areas of habitat that often result of land use changes and development.
 
In advance of the hunts, 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 safety of residents is our top priority,” added Hamilton. “In sixteen years of operations, and having harvested nearly 12,000 deer, we have not had one occurrence of personal injury of the public as a result of the Department’s deer management operations.”  

 All deer harvested during the Park Police-based Sharpshooting Operations will be donated to feed the hungry throughout the Capital area, including Montgomery County.

 Driver Safety Tips

The months of October through December are breeding season for deer when activity reaches an annual peak. Montgomery Parks urges residents and drivers to use caution as deer activity becomes more frequent and unpredictable, and offers the following recommendations:

  •  Be alert for deer on or near roadways and take precautions.
  • Be aware that 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.

Information on the County’s deer management program, including data on deer impacts and recommendations for the upcoming year is available in The Montgomery County Deer Management Program Annual Report and Recommendations for Fiscal Year 2013, at www.ParksDeerManagement.org.

Park Closure Schedule for Fall 2012 /Winter 2013 Deer Management Operations

Lottery-Based and Cooperative Managed Deer Hunting Programs

[Parks Closed from Sunrise – Sunset]

October

22 – Rachel Carson Conservation Park (Olney)
24 – North Germantown Greenway (Clarksburg)/Great Seneca Stream Valley Park (Gaithersburg)
27 – Woodstock Equestrian Park (Beallsville)

 

November

2 – Hoyles Mill Conservation Park (Boyds)
3 – Woodstock Equestrian Park (Beallsville)
3 – Bucklodge Forest Conservation Park (Boyds)
5 – Rachel Carson Conservation Park (Olney)
6 – Blockhouse Point Conservation Park (Darnestown)
10 – Hoyles Mill Conservation Park (Boyds)
14 – North Germantown Greenway (Clarksburg)/Great Seneca Stream Valley Park (Gaithersburg)
16 – Hoyles Mill Conservation Park (Boyds)
17 – Woodstock Equestrian Park (Beallsville)
19 – Rachel Carson Conservation Park (Olney)
20 – Blockhouse Point Conservation Park (Darnestown)
28 – North Germantown Greenway (Clarksburg)/Great Seneca Stream Valley Park (Gaithersburg)
30 – Woodstock Equestrian Park (Beallsville)
30 – Bucklodge Forest Conservation Park (Boyds)
 
December
1 – Hoyles Mill Conservation Park (Boyds)
4 – Little Bennett Regional Park (Clarksburg)
5 – Little Bennett Regional Park (Clarksburg)
6 – Little Bennett Regional Park (Clarksburg)
7 – Little Bennett Regional Park (Clarksburg)
7 – Hoyles Mill Conservation Park (Boyds)
11 – Blockhouse Point Conservation Park (Darnestown)
14 – Hoyles Mill Conservation Park (Boyds)
15 – Woodstock Equestrian Park (Beallsville)
17 – Rachel Carson Conservation Park (Olney)
18 – Blockhouse Point Conservation Park (Darnestown)
19 – North Germantown Greenway (Clarksburg)/Great Seneca Stream Valley Park (Gaithersburg)
 
January
4 – Hoyles Mill Conservation Park (Boyds)
5 – Woodstock Equestrian Park (Beallsville)
5 – Bucklodge Forest Conservation Park (Boyds)
11 – Hoyles Mill Conservation Park (Boyds)
18 – Hoyles Mill Conservation Park (Boyds)
26 – Hoyles Mill Conservation Park (Boyds)
 
Park Police-Based Sharpshooting Program

[Parks Closed January 1 – March 31, from 5:30PM – Sunrise daily]

Agricultural History Farm Park (Derwood – including attached segments of Rock Creek Stream Valley Units 12 & 16)
Needwood Golf Course (Rockville)
North Branch Stream Valley Park Units 2 & 3 (Norbeck)
North Branch Stream Valley Park Unit 4 (Olney)
Northwest Branch Recreation Park (Aspen Hill – including Layhill Local Park in Wheaton)
Northwest Branch Stream Valley Park Unit 7 (Norwood)
Northwest Golf Course (Wheaton)
Rock Creek Regional Park (Rockville)
Rock Creek Stream Valley Park Unit 2 (Bethesda/Chevy Chase)*
Rock Creek Stream Valley Park Unit 7 (Aspen Hill)
Sligo Creek Golf Course (Silver Spring)
Wheaton Regional Park (Wheaton)
Woodlawn Special Park (Sandy Spring)
 
Tenant-Based Managed Deer Hunting Program

[Park Closed to Public Access Year Round]

Goshen Recreation Park (Goshen)

* Proposed expansion initiative for FY2013

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