BGnews_logoBy Alison Wentzell

Public Hunting Not a Part of Park Service’s Deer Control Plan

Recently there has been a huge spike in the deer population in Virginia and Maryland civil war parks.  The increase in the number of deer has caused new problems for Park Service officials, and they are unsure what to do about them.  Recent surveys have found that there is an estimated 82 deer per square mile in the parks.  However, the areas can only support about 20 deer per square mile.  In addition, the deer affect the cultural landscapes, which presents the officials with a huge dilemma.  Tourists flock to the parks every year to experience them the way they were 150 years ago, but high deer population is changing the appearance of the park at a rate faster than the officials can fix.

Local hunting advocates are pushing the government to allow deer hunting in these parks.  Organizations have arranged for deer “harvests” across the country, including DC.  Hunters killed 20 deer during the span of 3 days at Rock Creek Park back in March.  They even donated the collected venison to food pantries.  However, the organization of this event caused uproar among the local community including protests and an unsuccessful lawsuit.

In spite of the gun community’s vocalization of their support for hunting in these parks, Park Service officials aren’t budging.  They refuse to allow hunting in the parks.  Not to mention, congressional legislation does not even allow Park Services to consider the option of hunting as a means for deer population control.  And with good reason, these parks are open to the public and are visited by thousands of tourists each season.  In my opinion, it seems that the addition of guns adds a tremendous safety concern for all of these people, no matter how regulated they are.  It will also give officials the added challenge of implementing hunting regulations.

For more information, check out the Washington Post article here.

Biking to Work Promotes Healthy Lifestyle

More and more frequently we hear stories promoting a biking lifestyle.  And for good reason.  When it comes down to it, bikes have many advantages over cars.  But an article in this week’s Gazette puts a different spin on the increasingly popular trend.  This story focuses on two local doctors who work for the NIH Heart Center at Suburban Hospital in Bethesda.  Keith Horvath, director of cardiothoracic surgery, and Brad Dick, and interventionalist radiologist, started biking to work five years ago and believe others should do the same.

Horvath takes the phrase “practice what you preach” to heart.  He says that part of his job is promoting a healthy lifestyle, and biking has done that for him.  He claims that the hardest part about exercising is finding the time to do it.  Now he uses his morning commute not only as his exercise for the day, but to relax, plan out his day, and prepare for surgery.

Radiologist Brad Dick also bikes to work, and can’t help but notice the stress people have on their morning commute.  Unlike the people he passes over on the Beltway, Dick never has to deal with traffic because you can always get around it on a bike.  Dick also mentions, “The less gas we use as a society the more healthy we are.”  So, while Dick and Horvath ride their bikes to work every day, they’re not only benefiting from it themselves, but they are also making you healthier by reducing gas usage and traffic congestion.

For the full article, check out the Gazette.

Events

  • Bethesda Green Happy Hour, Sept. 5, 5-8 pm, The Courtyard by Marriott Chevy Chase, 5220 Wisconsin Avenue

Join Bethesda Green for its First Thursday Happy Hour at The Courtyard and have a chance to win a raffle, get discounts on wine, beer, and cocktails, and delicious appetizers.  Also, meet the people protecting the local watershed—Friends of Cabin John Creek, Little Falls Watershed Alliance and Rock Creek Conservancy.  There is a $10 entrance fee with the proceeds shared among the local watershed groups.  RSVP via Meetup.

  • Red Wiggler Annual Harvest Celebration, Sept. 7, 4-8:30 pm, Red Wiggler Community Farm, 23400 Ridge Road, Germantown, MD

Come out and honor the work of the season and savor the delicious flavors of the fields.  Dishes are prepared by local chefs and consist of ingredients that have been grown right on the farm.  There will be live music and a Silent Auction full of items and services for your home, garden, and family.  Tickets cost $75 for adults and $40 for children.  All proceeds help programs at the Red Wiggler Farm.  To find out more information, check out the Bethesda Green Calendar.

Alison Wentzell is a senior at American University and an intern with Bethesda Green.  Her interests in sustainability focus on the community, environmental politics, and cultural aspects of the environmental movement.

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