Roads along Rock Creek Park to be closed as deer population is thinned

Several roads and trails in Rock Creek Park in D.C. may be closed at night for the next several months as the white-tailed deer population is thinned.

Starting Wednesday until March 31, 2020, biologists from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, who are highly trained firearms experts, will work with the National Park Service, U.S. Park Police and local law enforcement to reduce the deer population.

The deer will be shot at night when the park is normally closed.

The park service is asking commuters, including cyclists, to plan for alternate routes. It will post staff during nighttime road and trail closures to provide for visitor and employee safety while officials hunt.

Below are roads that will be temporarily closed during deer management operations.

From 5 p.m. to 4 a.m., the following roads may be closed:

  • 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.

From 6:45 p.m. to 4 a.m., the following roads may be closed:

  • Beach Drive NW, from Joyce Road NW to Wise Road NW;
  • Beach Drive NW, from West Beach Drive NW to the Maryland-D.C. 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.

Piney Branch Parkway and Broad Branch Road will be open at all times.

Bingham Drive NW, which is closed to vehicle traffic for a sewer rehabilitation project, will remain closed.

The forest and native plants in Rock Creek Park have been been damaged by an overpopulation of deer over the last 20 years.

The park service said in a statement Monday that a consistent deer population density of 15 to 20 per square mile is needed to allow regeneration in a healthy forest.

Abigail Constantino

Abigail Constantino started her journalism career writing for a local newspaper in Fairfax County, Virginia. She is a graduate of American University and The George Washington University.

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