Should 1,200 trees be removed from Rock Creek Park to better the golf course?

You now have until Nov. 4 to submit feedback on a proposed plan to remove 1,200 trees from Rock Creek Park in D.C.

The National Park Service and the National Links Trust are conducting an environmental assessment as part of plans to restore the Rock Creek Park Golf Course and expand its meadows.

The proposed plan includes taking down trees that are dead, in poor health or invasive species. Those trees would then be replaced with as many as 200 native trees.

“The golf course retains much of its integrity but is experiencing overgrown, encroaching vegetation that has narrowed the fairways and decreased playability; a lack of clear pathways for pedestrians and golf carts; the lack of a driving range; the deterioration of turf grass throughout the course; and limited facilities to accommodate golf course operations, golfers and non-golfers,” NPS stated on its website.

The removal and installment would provide more habitat for bees and monarch butterflies, NPS said. But there’s already opponents of the plan, such as the nonprofit Casey Trees which is concerned about the impact of less forest cover.

“This will have profound negative effects on ecosystem services like stormwater management and impact habitat cover for some of Rock Creek Park’s most sensitive residents,” wrote Casey Trees Advocates on its website. “Endangered Species like the Long Eared and Indiana Bats — whose populations have already been significantly harmed by the fungal white-nose syndrome — currently use these forests to roost and forage.”

NPS said public participation is an important part of the planning process. The environmental assessment looked at two potential plans: golf course rehabilitation or no action — meaning no improvements would be made to the golf course.

You can submit your feedback, on the National Park Service’s website.

Cheyenne Corin

Cheyenne Corin joined the WTOP News team in February 2023. Prior to this role she was a Montgomery County, Maryland, bureau reporter at WDVM/DC News Now.

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