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Valley Forge Under Attack

September 17, 2006

Valley Forge, PA - Like many properties in the National Park system, Valley Forge National Historic Park in Pennsylvania is under attack. An overpopulation of whitetail deer within the 3,466 acre park has devastated the forests natural ability to regenerate altering the ecology of the countryside.

Population monitoring within Valley Forge NHP shows that between 1997 and 2006 the whitetail deer population has grown from 154 deer per square mile to 244 deer per square mile. A population 14 times higher than the state's recommended whitetail population density for maintaining a healthy forest. 

Over-browsing and trampling by the deer has caused significant changes in the species composition, abundance and distribution of native plant communities. Alteration of natural processes such as forest regeneration are visible throughout much of the park. The negative affects are are being felt by more than just the parks flora. Ground and low canopy nesting birds as well as other wildlife reliant on the disappearing plant life have also been affected.  

Management Options At Valley Forge

Potential management strategies include continuing with with the current strategy of allowing the forest floor to be destroyed, high fencing of targeted vegetation communities, reproductive control (surgical and chemical), and lethal reduction of the deer herd via firearms, archery, or capture and euthanasia.

Public hunts are currently prohibited by law, but that could be changed by congress. This option could allow the park to actually generate revenue rather than reduce it's already under funded budget.

Public Input

Two public scoping meetings are scheduled for Wednesday, November 8th from 1:00pm to 4:00pm at the Valley Forge NHP, Education Center and Thursday, November 9th, 2006 from 6:00pm to 9:00pm at the Tredyffrin Township Building. You can also share your opinion via the public comment form.


Related Links & Resources
Valley Forge Whitetail Deer Management
Briefing Statement
Purpose, Need, Objectives


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