WASHINGTON — Over 48,000 meals will go to families in need in the DMV area thanks to a donation from the National Park Service (NPS).
Seven national parks in Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and Washington, D.C. came together to donate more than 12,000 pounds of venison to local nonprofit organizations that will serve the meals to those in need.
Officials say the donation is part of an annual effort by NPS to reduce overabundant white-tailed deer.
Overabundant deer populations can damage plants and prevent forest regeneration, as they eat nearly all tree seedlings, according to NPS. They can also damage agricultural crops, which are a key component of the historic setting at many Civil War battlefields.
Officials claim controlling populations of white-tailed deer is one of the most effective ways to support resilient forests that sustain all wildlife and plants in the long-term.
Before any donation, all parks professionally process deer and participate in a chronic wasting disease (CWD) sampling program. So far, all results have been negative for CWD, providing a high level of confidence that CWD does not currently exist in the deer populations in these parks.
If any results from future deer management indicate the presence of CWD, officials say the venison testing positive would not be donated.
National parks that made donations include:
- Antietam National Battlefield, 2,464 pounds donated to the Maryland Food Bank.
- Catoctin Mountain Park, 2,985 pounds donated to HELP Hotline, Thurmont Food Bank.
- Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park, 660 pounds donated to the Maryland Food Bank.
- Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, 810 pounds donated to the Maryland Food Bank.
- Manassas National Battlefield Park, 1,710 pounds donated to Hunters for the Hungry.
- Monocacy National Battlefield, 2,464 pounds donated to the Maryland Food Bank.
- Rock Creek Park, 1,100 pounds donated to the Maryland Food Bank.
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