Some roads and trails in D.C.’s Rock Creek Park area will be shut down during night time in the next few months as part of the National Park Service’s (NPS) annual “deer management operations” between November 20 and March 31.
NPS announced in a press release on Monday that the move aims at protecting and restoring native plants, as well as promoting healthy and diverse forests.
While the operations take place, visitors to the park will be protected via extensive safety measures.
“Biologists, who are also highly trained firearms experts from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, will be working under the direction of National Park Service (NPS) natural resource management specialists and in coordination with U.S. Park Police and local law enforcement to conduct reduction actions at night when the park is normally closed,” the press release said.
NPS advises commuters, including cyclists, to plan alternate routes.
The high white-tailed deer population caused damages in Rock Creek Park leading to a decline in forest regeneration over the past 20 years, according to NPS, which stated that regeneration in a healthy forest is only possible with a deer population density of 15-20 per square mile.
“Without continued management, deer populations would quickly rebound and again eat tree seedlings and other plants before they could grow. The National Park Service continues to monitor how well plants are growing with fewer deer, and the findings will help inform ongoing deer management actions,” NPS explained.
The deer reduction program has been in place since 2012.
Roads to be temporarily closed during the deer management operations:
Note: Bingham Drive NW, closed to vehicle traffic for a sewer rehabilitation project, will remain closed.
Temporary road closures from 5 p.m. to 4 a.m. may include:
Horse Stable Road NW.
Ross Drive NW.
Ridge Road NW, south of Grant Road NW.
Glover Road NW, south of the Rock Creek Park Horse Center.
Temporary road closures from 6:45 p.m. to 4 a.m. may include:
Beach Drive NW, from Joyce Road NW to Wise Road NW.
Beach Drive NW, from West Beach Drive NW to the Maryland/District of Columbia boundary.
Sherrill Drive NW.
Beach Drive between Broad Branch Road NW and Joyce Road NW.
Beach Drive between Wise Road NW and West Beach Drive NW.
Wise Road NW.
Ridge Road NW.
Glover Road NW.
Grant Road NW.
Joyce Road NW.
Morrow Drive NW.
West Beach Drive NW at Parkside Drive NW.
Stage Road NW.
The roads that will remain open at all times are as follows:
Piney Branch Parkway.
Broad Branch Road.