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Park Trail Closures Due to Deer Management Program

Updated: Monday, September 23 2013, 12:35 PM EDT
Cincinnati (WKRC) -- Specified areas and trails within Cincinnati Parks will be closed for portions of the fall and winter in order to sustain the natural resources and wildlife within the parks.

Purpose of the Deer Management Program:
To reduce, not eliminate, the number of deer in order to restore the health of our parks and to sustain long-term biodiversity and native forest plant species.
Significant Deer Over Population:
The Park Board has been studying the impact of deer on our parklands for more than a decade. The findings indicate that the deer populations in our parks far exceed the target count of 15 to 20 deer per square mile, as recommended by the State of Ohio Division of Wildlife. Forest regeneration and wildflower studies have determined that the overall health of Cincinnati Park forests, and of the  herd itself, is in jeopardy because of deer over population.
A study from the University of Wisconsin has shown that when densities are above 10 deer per square mile you begin to lose wildflowers. At densities above 20 deer per square mile you begin to lose bird diversity. And at densities above 30 deer per square mile there is a change in forest composition. Deer not only affect the plants they eat, they also affect the wildlife that is dependent upon those plants. Cincinnati Parks is trying to manage the habitats to support many species rather than favor just one at the expense of others.
History of the Deer Management Program: 
Since the winter of 2007, the Cincinnati Park Board has been working to control the deer population that has decimated our native forest plant species. Though the population levels are recommended to be 15 - 20 deer per square mile, the Mt. Airy Forest population has reached as high as 145 deer per square mile, and in California Woods 103 deer per square mile. Such excessive deer populations are the reason that bow hunting will be permitted in these select parks September 28, 2013 - February 2, 2014:
Mt. Airy Forest (Maple Ridge, McFarlan Woods, Diehl Road, West and South of Arboretum to Shepherd Creek)
Deer population as high as 145 per square mile (should be 35)

Mt. Airy Forest (Bradford Felter's (Kirby Trail), Tanglewood & Braken Woods)
Closed  everyday September 28, 2013 - February 2, 2014
Stanbery Park
Deer population 32 (should be 3)
Hunting Monday - Friday only.
California Woods
Deer population 60 combined with Magrish (should be 4)
Night hunting only. All trails open during day light hours. Front entrance gate will be closed at dusk.
Magrish Riverlands Preserve
Deer population 60 combined with California (should be 4)
Closed everyday September 28, 2013 - February 2, 2014
Safety is the top priority at Cincinnati Parks and will be the top priority with our bow-hunting program. The hunting zones in the selected parks are closed to the public during hunting times. Thirty-yard buffer zones are established around the park perimeters, all roads, parking lots and buildings/shelters.
All bow hunters must pass qualifications and testing for accuracy in addition to passing a State Hunter Safety Program in order to qualify for a permit to bow hunt in parks. Additional safety measures are in place to assure that our employees, the public, and our bow hunters all go home without injury. These measures include following all State of Ohio Bow Hunting Regulations; passing an approved Hunter Safety Program; demonstrating accuracy by passing a qualification shoot; hunting only in authorized areas; and wearing a safety harness when in a tree stand.
We hope that you will understand the importance of protecting these park habitats for future generations to enjoy and will be patient with the park closings. We are doing our best to balance the need for safe, effective deer management/public access by only closing sections of the parks, and opening trails on specified days where possible. Though we are confident in the safety measures exercised by our hunters we ask that the public stay out of the hunting zones. We also ask that pets not be allowed to roam in the park off leash. These requests are for your safety and for the success of the program.

Information provided by Cincinnati Park Board


Cincinnati ParksPark Trail Closures Due to Deer Management Program

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