Making a Difference

The well-being of natural communities depends not only on land managers, but on all of us—neighbors, visitors, fellow inhabitants of Earth!

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Rock Creek Park

Park Management

Park staff monitor and protect natural communities in many ways to help deal with threats from non-native invasive plants and insects, diseases, and more.

Here are a few ways National Park Service staff are managing ecological threats to the Mesic Mixed Hardwood Forest:

  • Excessive deer browse: A deer management plan in place since 2012 uses lethal and non-lethal means to control the white-tailed deer population1
  • Non-native invasive plants: NPS staff, together with NPS partners and volunteers, are actively removing non-native invasive plants from previously selected areas, using a variety of methods
  • Gypsy moth: NPS staff use bacterial and viral insecticides, naturalized fungus, release of parasitic wasps
  • Potential arrival of diseases and invasive insects: vigilance of Park staff and visitors Ecobit: An Extra Set of Eyes

You Can Help, Too!

If you are interested in helping to take care of the natural communities of Rock Creek Park, here are some ideas:


In the Park


Stay on trails and respect fences. Park staff sometimes put up fences to keep out deer or to discourage foot traffic in erosion-prone areas. You can help by staying out of fenced-in areas.


Keep your pet on a leash so that it does not disturb animals or dig up plants. Clean up after your pet to help keep streams and rivers clean.

Keep Your Eyes Open:

Alert park staff if you see any of the following along the trail: diseased vegetation, infestation by non-native insects, invasion by non-native vegetation (especially Early Detection Rapid Response species), trash, unauthorized trails, or anything that looks amiss. Make a note of your location, take a picture if you can, and contact Rock Creek Park’s Chief of Resources Management at 202-895-6010.

At Home

Landscape with Natives:

Many non-native invasive plants started out as—or still are—popular landscaping plants, so you can help limit their spread by choosing native plants for your yard. If you do plant non-natives, remove seeds and berries before wind and animals spread them. English ivy won’t produce berries unless it’s climbing a vertical surface, so keep it off trees and walls.

Protect Streams:

Keep litter, fertilizer, pet waste, and yard waste off the streets where it can wash into the storm drains that lead directly to creeks. Consider installing a rain garden in your yard to slow down stormwater run-off and help recharge the groundwater.