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Jan 10 14

Montgomery County Planning Board Chair Will Not Seek Second Term

by Bridget Schwiesow

Françoise Carrier announces decision to retire from Board after one term

SILVER SPRING, MD – Montgomery County Planning Board Chair Françoise Carrier announced today that she will not seek a second term as Chair. Carrier sent an email to the Planning and Parks Department staff on Thursday evening announcing her decision:

“It is with mixed feelings that I write to tell you I have decided not to seek a second term as Planning Board Chair. It has been wonderful working with such fine people, and I will always love this agency, but for me, one term feels right.”

Appointed in 2010 by the Montgomery County Council, Carrier’s tenure has been marked as one of the busiest and most productive terms during the Board’s history with the approval of Master Plans such as: Chevy Chase Lake, Takoma/Langley, Glenmont, Countywide Transit Corridors Functional Plan and Long Branch. Carrier also oversaw the zoning code rewrite and is responsible for significant changes to the subdivision staging policy. During Carrier’s term, the Planning Board adopted a new Park and Planning Master Plan, the Vision 2030 Strategic Plan for Parks and Recreation; approved park master plans and capital programs; and oversaw the renewed development of the Montgomery Parks Foundation, which successfully cultivates financial support and public engagement of county residents and businesses as donors and advocates.

Carrier will serve until the end of her term, retiring on June 14, 2014.

Françoise Carrier became chair of the Montgomery County Planning Board in June 2010 after being unanimously supported by the County Council.  Carrier replaced Royce Hanson after his second stint as chairman. Carrier was a director and hearing examiner with the Montgomery County Office of Zoning and Administrative Hearings. She had worked for that office since 2001, carrying out the functions of an administrative law judge in land use and human rights cases decided in trial-type hearings. In some 20 cases each year, Ms. Carrier issued detailed recommendations for the County Council or other agencies. She also issued final opinions for a few cases each year. A graduate of Stanford Law School with a background in economics and land use law, Ms. Carrier previously worked for three Washington, D.C., law firms for nine years.

The Montgomery County Planning Board Chair position is a full-time position appointed by the County Council to lead the Planning Board. The Chair serves with four Board members: Casey Anderson, Norman Dreyfuss, Marye Wells-Harley and Amy Presley. Ms. Carrier commented that she could not have worked with a finer group of Board members.

Dec 17 13

M-NCPPC Montgomery Parks Approves Deer Management for Cabin John Regional Park to Begin January 10, 2014

by Melissa Chotiner

SILVER SPRING, MDMontgomery Parks, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission announced the expansion of its deer management operations to include Cabin John Regional Park. The park located in Potomac has been selected to address damage caused by an increasing population of deer, including deer-related automobile accidents, damage to natural resources, and increased potential of communicable diseases such as Lyme disease. Recent estimates indicate deer population in this park is nearly four times the recommended density for an area this size. The decision to add this park to the deer management operations was made after review of citizen complaints and input, and with strong support from the community.

Highly trained and certified Park Police Sharpshooters will lethally remove deer from the park, under very stringent guidelines and in the most humane way possible. The deer management operation will take place when the park is closed* to the public, from 6 p.m. through 6 a.m., from January 10 – February 28 2014, and recur annually as necessary. Information about the hunts will be posted on signs throughout the park, on the Montgomery Parks’ website homepage and communicated via Park Police patrols. All deer harvested through the effort will be donated for consumption at local soup kitchens.

*The Cabin John Ice Skating Rink and Pauline Betz Addie Tennis Center  will both remain open on standard operating hours. 

Cabin John Regional Park is among 29 other parks in the Montgomery Parks’ system selected for managed hunts during the fall 2013 – winter 2014 season. Dates and locations for upcoming deer management operations including Lottery-based Managed Deer Hunts, Cooperative Managed Deer Hunts and Park Police-based Sharpshooting Operations are listed below.

Lottery-Based and Cooperative Managed Deer Hunting Programs

[Parks Closed from Sunrise – Sunset]

January 2014

3 – Hoyles Mill Conservation Park (Boyds)
3 – Little Seneca Stream Valley Park (Boyds)
4 – Woodstock Equestrian Park (Beallsville)
4 – Bucklodge Forest Conservation Park (Boyds)
11 – Hoyles Mill Conservation Park (Boyds)
17 – Hoyles Mill Conservation Park (Boyds)
18 – Woodstock Equestrian Park (Beallsville)
25 – Hoyles Mill Conservation Park (Boyds)

 

Park Police-based sharpshooting locations 2012-13
[Parks Closed January 10 – February 28, from 6:00PM – 6:00AM, Monday-Friday]

  • Agricultural History Farm Park (Derwood – including attached segments of Rock Creek Stream Valley Units 12 & 16)
  • Black Hill Regional Park (Boyds)
  • Cabin John Regional Park (Bethesda)
  • 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 is closed to public access year-round

  • Goshen Recreation Park (Goshen)

 

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.

To learn more the department’s deer management program, visit www.ParksDeerManagement.org.

# # #

 

Sep 26 13

Montgomery Parks Announces Seasonal Park Closures for Annual Deer Management Operations

by Melissa Chotiner

Public comment is sought through October 25, on proposal to add Cabin John Regional Park to program.

SILVER SPRING, MD—Montgomery Parks, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) will launch its fall 2013, winter 2014 deer management operations season on October 28 resulting in several intermittent park closures spanning through the end of February. Lottery-based and cooperative managed deer hunts, as well as Park Police-based Sharpshooting, will take place in 27 parks in the Montgomery Parks system. (A complete schedule of park closure dates and times is listed at the end of the release.)

Deer population reduction is conducted in the most safe and humane way possible by specially trained Park Police sharpshooters and qualified, pre-screened hunters. More details on the lottery-based programs are available at www.parksdeermanagement.org.

The deer population reduction 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.

All of the deer harvested from the Park Police-based Sharpshooting program are transported to a processing facility and the meat donated to local food disbursement organizations. Last year approximately 16,000 pounds of processed venison was donated to the National Capital Area Food Bank.

Program Expansion Open for Public Comment

On-going concerns from residents about the growing deer population in and around Cabin John Regional Park, Bethesda, prompted an assessment of deer numbers in the park. The study indicated that 125 – 150 deer inhabit the 514 acres of parkland located within the boundary of Interstate 270, Democracy Boulevard and Seven Locks Road—three times the density recommended for the area. As a result, Montgomery Parks is proposed adding specially selected areas of Cabin John Regional Park to the Park Police Sharpshooting Program, and is accepting public comment on the proposal through October 25. 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 Montgomery Parks
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 in 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 seventeen years of operations, and having harvested nearly 13,000 deer, we have not had one occurrence of personal injury of the public as a result of the Department’s deer management operations.”

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 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.

For more information on the County’s deer management program see The Montgomery County Deer Management Program Annual Report and Recommendations for Fiscal Year 2014 which contains data on deer impacts and recommendations for the upcoming year. This and other information including a copy of the county’s deer management plan, and information on deer management operations, are available at www.ParksDeerManagement.org.

M-NCPPC Montgomery Parks Deer Population Management Programs Park Closure Schedule for Fall 2013, Winter 2014

 

Lottery-Based and Cooperative Managed Deer Hunting Programs

[Parks Closed from Sunrise – Sunset]

October

28 – Rachel Carson Conservation Park (Olney)

30 – North Germantown Greenway (Clarksburg)/Great Seneca Stream Valley Park (Gaithersburg)

November

2 – Hoyles Mill Conservation Park (Boyds)

5 – Blockhouse Point Conservation Park (Darnestown)

8 – Woodstock Equestrian Park (Beallsville)

8 – Bucklodge Forest Conservation Park (Boyds)

9 – Hoyles Mill Conservation Park (Boyds)

9 – Little Seneca Stream Valley Park (Boyds)

13 – North Germantown Greenway (Clarksburg)/Great Seneca Stream Valley Park (Gaithersburg)

15 – Hoyles Mill Conservation Park (Boyds)

16 – Woodstock Equestrian Park (Beallsville)

18 – Rachel Carson Conservation Park (Olney)

19 – Blockhouse Point Conservation Park (Darnestown)

20 – North Germantown Greenway (Clarksburg)/Great Seneca Stream Valley Park (Gaithersburg)

23 – Hoyles Mill Conservation Park (Boyds)

23 – Little Seneca Stream Valley Park (Boyds)

25 – Rachel Carson Conservation Park (Olney)

26 – Blockhouse Point Conservation Park (Darnestown)

December

6 – Woodstock Equestrian Park (Beallsville)

6 – Bucklodge Forest Conservation Park (Boyds)

7 – Hoyles Mill Conservation Park (Boyds)

10 -13– Little Bennett Regional Park (Clarksburg)

13 – Hoyles Mill Conservation Park (Boyds)

16 – Rachel Carson Conservation Park (Olney)

17 – Blockhouse Point Conservation Park (Darnestown)

18 – North Germantown Greenway (Clarksburg)/Great Seneca Stream Valley Park (Gaithersburg)

21 – Woodstock Equestrian Park (Beallsville)

January

3 – Hoyles Mill Conservation Park (Boyds)

3 – Little Seneca Stream Valley Park (Boyds)

4 – Woodstock Equestrian Park (Beallsville)

4 – Bucklodge Forest Conservation Park (Boyds)

11 – Hoyles Mill Conservation Park (Boyds)

17 – Hoyles Mill Conservation Park (Boyds)

18 – Woodstock Equestrian Park (Beallsville)

25 – Hoyles Mill Conservation Park (Boyds)

 

Park Police-Based Sharpshooting Program

[Parks Closed January 10 – February 28, from 6:00PM – 6:00AM, Monday-Friday]

Agricultural History Farm Park (Derwood – including attached segments of Rock Creek Stream Valley Units 12 & 16)

Black Hill Regional Park (Boyds)

 

Cabin John Regional Park (Bethesda)*

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

About The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission Montgomery Parks

Montgomery Parks manages more than 35,000 acres of parkland, consisting of 418 parks. Montgomery Parks is a department of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), a bi-county agency established in 1927 to steward public land. The M-NCPPC has been nationally recognized for its high quality parks and recreation services and is regarded as a national model by other parks systems. www.montgomeryparks.org

 

 

Jun 11 13

Montgomery Parks Statement on Rock Creek Park Stream Valley #2 Accident

by Melissa Chotiner

Statement from Mary Bradford, Director of Montgomery County Department of Parks

“We are deeply saddened by last night’s tragic accident in Rock Creek Park Stream Valley #2 claiming the life of a young boy riding his bicycle in the park. Our thoughts and sympathy go out to his family and friends. Our park police officers are continuing to work closely with the county police to investigate this very sad incident.”

 

About The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission Montgomery Parks

Montgomery Parks manages more than 35,000 acres of parkland, consisting of 418 parks. Montgomery Parks is a department of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), a bi-county agency established in 1927 to steward public land. The M-NCPPC has been nationally recognized for its high quality parks and recreation services and is regarded as a national model by other parks systems. www.montgomeryparks.org

 

 

Apr 1 13

Annual Persian American Festival Expected to Attract Thousands to Black Hill Regional Park on April 7, 2013

by Melissa Chotiner

BOYDS, MD—The IrAmerican Civic Society (ICS) in cooperation with Montgomery Parks, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission will host its annual Sizdeh Bedar festival at Black Hill Regional Park in Boyds Sunday, April 7 from 7:00 am – 5:00 pm. Parking passes for entrance to the festival are $25 and can be purchased by contacting the IrAmerican Civic Association at (703) 442-8100 .

Traffic and crowd controls for the event will be managed by Montgomery Parks’ park managers for Black Hill Regional Park in collaboration with the Maryland-National Capital Park Police. West Old Baltimore Road will remain open for vehicular traffic during the festival but will not accommodate parking or pedestrian traffic. Currently closed on the east side for construction, West Old Baltimore Road is expected to reopen by April 7. In the event the road is not ready on that date, alternative operational plans will be implemented

Park Police have established a hotline number, 301-528-3469, which residents, park neighbors and patrons may call on the day of the event with any questions or concerns. For questions about this event prior to Sunday, please call 301-495-2595.

Sizdeh Bedar is the Persian festival of spring. Iranian Americans and others will celebrate this age-old spring event in parks and various outdoor settings across the nation Sunday, the thirteenth day of the Persian Year—Norouz. The celebration at Black Hill will include live Persian music, cultural activities, and freshly grilled food and sweets.

 # # #

Dec 14 12

Montgomery Parks Appoints John Nissel Deputy Director for Operations and Antonio DeVaul as Division Chief for the Maryland-National Capital Park Police – Montgomery County

by Melissa Chotiner

SILVER SPRING, MDMontgomery Parks, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) announced two new appointments today: John Nissel, formerly Chief of the Facilities Management Division, was selected for the position of Deputy Director for Operations, and Captain Antonio DeVaul was named Chief of the Maryland-National Capital Park Police, Montgomery County Division. DeVaul has been Acting Chief since May of this year.

“John Nissel and Chief Antonio DeVaul have proven their dedication to our parks and the communities they serve. Both men bring outstanding leadership skills and an unparalleled work ethic to the department,” said Mary Bradford, Director of Montgomery County Department of Parks. “The competition for these positions was very tough, with many outstanding applicants. I look forward to working closely with them to continue the high standards we expect in Montgomery Parks.”

John Nissel; Deputy Director for Operations, M-NCPPC Montgomery Parks
As deputy director, John Nissel oversees the management of Department of Parks field operations, including organizing and directing the work programs of five operational divisions. He is responsible for all trades, mechanics, masons, carpenters, maintenance staff for all 417 parks, arborist and horticultural operations, public and community gardens, revenue-producing facilities such as ice rinks and indoor tennis centers, nature centers, and environmental education.

Nissel joined Montgomery Parks in March 2009 as Chief of the Facilities Management Division, overseeing the department’s building trades, fleet and residential and commercial properties—including maintenance and leasing. Before joining Montgomery Parks, he held several positions of increasing responsibility at the YMCA of Metropolitan Washington, including vice president of property and facilities and central purchasing; director of business development and central purchasing; and associate executive director for the national capital branch of the organization. He also previously worked for the National Park Service and Fairfax County Park Authority.

Nissel holds Emergency Management Systems certification from FEMA, and is a member of various organizations including the National Parks and Recreation Association, Frostburg State University Recreation and Parks Advisory Board and the Knights of Columbus. He graduated from Shepherd University and lives in Frederick with his wife and two children.

Antonio DeVaul; Chief of Montgomery County Division of the Maryland-National Capital Park Police
Chief Antonio DeVaul, a 19-year veteran of the Park Police (in both Montgomery and Prince George’s County Divisions) oversees a staff of 113 including more than 20 command and supervisory personnel. The command staff is responsible for the supervision of police personnel and the implementation of the operational programs, policies and objectives of the agency.

During his tenure with Park Police, Chief DeVaul has served in or supervised in every section, including assignments as Assistant Chief, Field Operations; Assistant Chief, Support Operations; Community Services Commander; Patrol Commander; SERT Commander; Operations Duty Officer; Manager of Staff Services; Manager of Technical Services; Patrol Sergeant; Police Activities (PAL) Supervisor; Patrol Officer; and Field Training Officer.

Chief DeVaul has received numerous commendations and awards from the community, the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, and other government agencies and organizations, including the Silver Star for Valor, the Bronze Star for Life Saving, Police Officer of the Year, Governor’s Citation, and the United States Congress Proclamation. He is a graduate of several police executive courses including the Session XXI of the Maryland Leadership Challenge, the Penn State Police Executive Development Program, the Maryland Police and Correctional Training Commissions’ Foundations of Leadership Executive Course, the FBI Greater Chesapeake Law Enforcement Executive School, and the Maryland Chiefs of Police Association Law Enforcement Executive Officer Program. He is also a graduate of the Impact Silver Spring Leadership Development Program.

Chief DeVaul is a member of the Maryland Chiefs of Police Association, the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE), International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), and the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA). He is also an active member of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission’s Diversity Council, the Montgomery County Emergency Management Group, and the Montgomery County Criminal Justice Coordinating Committee.

He is a life-long Montgomery County resident, attended Montgomery County Public Schools and graduated from the University of Maryland in College Park. He currently lives in Rockville with his wife and three youngest children. He also has two adult children.

Apr 19 12

Maryland-National Capital Park Police Chief Darien L. Manley Announces His Retirement Effective May 1, 2012

by Melissa Chotiner

After a distinguished 24-year career with the Maryland-National Capital Park Police, Chief Darien L. Manley has announced his retirement plans effective May 1, 2012. “It’s been a good ride,” Chief Manley said. “I am proud to say that I have served with the best of the best. I’m looking forward to a new challenge but will miss my colleagues.” Chief Manley has served in both Montgomery County and Prince George’s County as an Officer, Detective, Sergeant, Lieutenant, Captain, and for the last four years as the Chief of the Montgomery County Division.

Chief Manley is best known for his innovative technology solutions to everyday policing. Under his watch, the Division has been on the cutting edge of technology and communications. Chief Manley was a Maryland Police and Correctional Training Commissions’ Police Training and Firearms Instructor for more than two decades. He will be joining the State Highway Administration.

Chief Manley received numerous commendations and awards from the community, the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, and other public safety agencies and organizations, including national recognition as the APCO Public Safety Communications Center Director of the Year for the Mid-Atlantic Region.  He was awarded the President’s Volunteer Service Award and the Prince George’s Parks & Recreation Meritorious Achievement Award. Chief Manley has completed the Maryland Leadership Challenge and the DEA National Drug Enforcement Academy.

“Commander Manley managed his Park Police division with strength and kindness, and with a deep commitment to the parks and community he served,” said Mary Bradford, M-NCPPC Montgomery County Parks Director. “He directed his force through some difficult times and leaves them stronger and well-prepared for the future. He was a key part of the management team for Montgomery Parks, and his shoes will be hard to fill as we search for a new Division Chief for the Park Police. I relied upon Commander Manley’s skills, and respect him both personally and professionally. We will truly miss him.”

Dec 5 11

Department of Parks Approves Deer Management for Sligo Creek Stream Valley Park; Program to Begin in January 2012

by Abbigail Irelan

DEPARTMENT OF PARKS APPROVES DEER MANAGEMENT FOR SLIGO CREEK STREAM VALLEY PARK; PROGRAM TO BEGIN IN JANUARY 2012

SILVER SPRING, MD— M-NCPPC, Montgomery Parks, announces that a new deer management program in Sligo Creek Stream Valley Park Golf Course has been approved and will begin in January, 2012.
As part of the program, specially trained Park Police sharpshooters, under very stringent guidelines and in the most humane way possible, will lethally remove deer from the park. The Park Police-based sharpshooting activities will occur within the Sligo Creek Golf Course at night from 5:30 pm until sunrise – when the park is closed to the public – throughout January, February and March, 2012.

The Department of Parks was asked to implement a deer management program in this area by community groups, individuals, and the Montgomery County Council due to the increasingly adverse impacts of the burgeoning deer population on local neighborhoods including an increase in deer-vehicle collisions, Lyme disease from deer-borne ticks, and damage to the natural ecosystem of Sligo Creek Stream Valley Park.  Native plants are being browsed heavily, dying with no chance to reproduce, and birds and other animals that rely on a balanced ecosystem are disappearing.

Parks wildlife ecology staff investigated deer densities in Sligo Creek Stream Valley Park between Route 29 and Arcola Avenue annually beginning in 2007.  Current estimates show that 140-181 individual deer use these parklands; this density is over four times higher than recommended for the area.  It was determined that the Sligo Creek Golf Course was the best location to begin reducing deer populations.

The new program was proposed in October, 2011, and the Department accepted public comments regarding the proposal through November 10, 2011, receiving 151 responses from area residents. Seventy-four percent of respondents were supportive of the program.

Several comments opposing the program suggested utilizing alternative measures, such as birth control, to manage the population. “The use of birth control was considered for this site,” said Natural Resources Manager Rob Gibbs, “however it was determined that it was not a feasible method for free roaming wild deer in Sligo Creek Park.” One important reason this method was not selected is that the only FDA-approved drug for birth control in wild deer requires each deer to be captured, tagged and hand injected with the drug. This process would need to be repeated with each treated deer every two to three years and for any fawns born or non-treated deer that move into the area.  Some experimental efforts using deer contraception have been conducted in the county; however, they have all been done within fenced areas and even then, have not significantly reduced deer numbers even after more than a decade of use.  The Department continues to monitor advances in deer contraception in hopes of using it in the future if the drugs and technology improve.

Concerns regarding safety were also raised during the comment period. In order to ensure the public is aware of park closures and sharpshooting operations, the Department will post yellow and black “Park Closed” signs around and throughout Sligo Golf Course. Notices of closures will also be posted on the Montgomery Parks website. Park Police will patrol the park during these operations to ensure public safety and safe weapons discharge.

“Park Police has been utilizing sharpshooting as a method of deer population reduction in Montgomery Parks since 1999, safely and effectively when traditional hunting is not practical or legally possible,” said Department of Parks Wildlife Ecologist Bill Hamilton. All deer harvested from the program will be utilized to feed the hungry throughout the Capital area, including in Montgomery County.

The Department of Parks sharpshooting operations have been very successful. Over the past 11 years, more than 4,000 deer have been harvested and about 70 tons of meat donated to local food banks.  Measurable reductions of impacts from deer have been realized, such as a decline in deer-vehicle collisions surrounding parks where management occurs.  There has not been a single safety accident since the program began.

Lowering deer numbers in the area will reduce deer-vehicle collisions and impacts to home landscaping, and help the heavily damaged park ecosystem recover and support a greater diversity of native plants and animals including a more balanced and healthy population of deer.

To learn more the department’s deer management program, visit www.ParksDeerManagement.org.

###

Contact:
Abbi Irelan
Marketing and Public Affairs Manager
Montgomery County Department of Parks
301-495-2532 (office)
301-785-2438 (cell)

Oct 11 11

Department of Parks Nows Accepting Comments on Proposed Addition to Deer Management Operations: Sligo Golf Course

by Kelli Holsendolph

SILVER SPRING, MD—The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) Montgomery County Department of Parks is now accepting public comments on a proposal to conduct deer management at Sligo Golf Course on Sligo Creek Parkway in Silver Spring.

This proposal comes in response to community requests for deer population management in Sligo Creek Stream Valley Park. Parks wildlife ecology staff has also investigated the area to find deer densities far exceed desirable levels. The Friends of Sligo Creek (FOSC), a watershed advocacy group which conserves natural resources within the park and surrounding communities, endorses the department’s Sligo Golf Course deer management proposal. The Montgomery County Revenue Authority, which operates Sligo Golf Course, also supports this initiative.

“There is growing community momentum, in areas across the county, to initiate and request significant steps to address deer populations,” said Department of Parks Wildlife Ecologist Bill Hamilton. “This current proposal should signal that Montgomery Parks hears these concerns and is willing and able to act responsively to address community requests about deer.”

As proposed, specially trained Maryland-National Capital Park Police sharpshooters, under stringent guidelines and in the most humane way possible, will lethally remove deer from the park. If approved, the proposed activity would occur beginning this winter and annually as required during the months of January through March, from 5:30 pm until sunrise—at night when the park is closed to public use. All deer harvested from the program are donated to feed the hungry throughout the Capital area, including in Montgomery County.

“Park Police sharpshooting is specifically designed to be safe in densely developed areas,” added Hamilton. “Since 1999, Montgomery Parks has employed Park Police sharpshooting as a way to safely and effectively manage deer populations when traditional methods of hunting are not practical or legally possible.”

To date, the Department of Parks deer management operations have been successful.  More than 4,000 deer have been
harvested.  Measurable reductions of impacts from deer have been realized, such as a decline in deer-vehicle collisions surrounding parks where management occurs. And, there has not been a single accident since the program began.

The Department of Parks is seeking public input on this proposal to add Sligo Golf Course to its deer management operations, primarily from residents surrounding the golf course, prior to making a final decision. Residents may submit comments by
email to MCP-DeerManagement@MontgomeryParks.org or traditional mail to Department of Parks, Wildlife Ecology Unit, 12535
Milestone Manor Lane, Germantown, Maryland 20876. Comments will be accepted now through Thursday, November 10, 2011. All comments must include a full name and address to be considered.

To learn more about this proposal and the department’s deer management program, visit www.ParksDeerManagement.org.

# # #

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

Sep 27 11

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

by Kelli Holsendolph

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

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