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  • Natural Resource Management and Protection Branch
  • Natural Resource Management and Protection Branch
  • Natural Resource Management and Protection Branch
  • Natural Resource Management and Protection Branch
  • Natural Resource Management and Protection Branch
  • Natural Resource Management and Protection Branch
  • Natural Resource Management and Protection Branch

Wildlife & Wildflowers

Can I release captured wildlife on parkland?

No. State law and Park Authority regulations prohibit the relocation or release of wild animals onto park land . Whether it was is a turtle collected in your back yard or a squirrel trapped in your attic, it cannot be moved across a property line, but and must be dealt with on your property. One thing to consider is to avoid wildlife conflicts by keeping bird feeders, thick mulch beds, wood piles and other wildlife attractants away from your home.

Can I release my pet on parkland?

No. State law prohibits the abandonment of domestic animals, and penalties can be severe. If you find that you cannot keep your pet anymore, try to find someone that you know and trust who can take it for you. You also can try contacting one of the many pet adoption organizations or the Fairfax County Animal Shelter.

What do I do if I find an injured animal?

If you find an injured animal, whenever possible do not touch it, and leave it where you found it. Deer fawns are routinely left alone during the day and are not an emergency.  Contact Wildlife Rescue League via their website or their hotline at 703 440-0800.

What do I do in case of a wildlife emergency?

If you see an animal that is injured and could pose a threat to humans or that is suffering, such as a deer struck by a car, call the Fairfax County Police non-emergency number, 703 691-2131, or 911 if you feel there is an imminent safety threat. For more information, you can also visit the Department of Animal Control website.

What do I do if I find a snake in my yard? How do I know if it is a copperhead?

Try to leave the snake alone. The vast majority of snakes in our area are harmless and will not hurt you. The only local venomous snake is the copperhead, which is usually a non-aggressive animal. If you feel you must move the snake, try to move it the shortest possible distance away from human activityFor assistance in identifying snakes, contact one of our Nature Centers or visit the Virginia Herpetological Society Web site. Fairfax County Animal Control will only respond to snake calls if you have a copperhead or an exotic pet snake that has gotten loose.

Where can I go to see birds?

In Fairfax County, we are lucky to have a diverse assortment of habitats that attract a wide variety of migrant and resident birds.  Take a walk in your local park or join a guided bird hike (check the Calendar of Events or with the nature centers for program schedules). Local birding hotspots include Huntley Meadows Park and Riverbend Park.

Can I collect animals or plants from parkland?

No. Removing plants, animals or any natural (or cultural) material from parkland is against the law. If you see someone removing animals, plants or other materials from a park please call Park Operations at 703-324-8594 and your call will be routed to the correct staff member.

What are invasive plants and are they impacting parkland?

Invasive species are generally species that are non-native to our area and cause ecological or economic harm to natural areas. The Park Authority supports an Invasive Management Area (IMA) program to address these issues.

Does the Park Authority manage wildlife species such as deer, geese and beaver?

To manage overabundant wildlife, the Park Authority partners in regulated population control efforts. This includes the Fairfax County Deer Management Program and the Geese Peace resident Canada Goose egg oiling program.

For issues of Wildlife Conflict, the Park Authority follows a Wildlife Conflict Policy, Policy 202, aimed at progressive conflict resolution between animals and humans.

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Human Activity on Park Land

Where can I get rid of my yard debris?

Park Authority regulations prohibit dumping of yard debris onto park land. Yard waste recycling is important for Fairfax County's environment because it reduces the amount of material destined for disposal while providing soil-improving properties to lawns and gardens. Fairfax County encourages property owners to recycle yard debris on their own property. Also, trash collection companies are required to offer yard waste removal services, and you can contact your collector for more information on those services. Citizens who want to remove debris themselves can also haul yard waste to either the I-66 Transfer Station and I-95 Landfill Complex. For more information visit Fairfax County Yard Waste.

Who do I call if a contractor or someone in my neighborhood is encroaching (clearing, dumping, digging, landscaping, building fences, etc.) on parkland?

Call Park Operations at 703-324-8594, and your call will be routed to the correct staff member. If the encroachment is occurring during non-business hours and you think it is an emergency, please call the Fairfax County Police non-emergency phone number, 703-691-2131.

Can you use metal detectors or hunt for relics on park land?

No. Relic hunting is against the law. If you see someone relic hunting, please call the Fairfax County Police Department (emergency: 911; non-emergency: 703-691-2131).

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Hunting & Fishing

Can you fish in parks?

Yes, unless it is posted no fishing. People 16 years and older must have a valid Virginia Fishing license; those 15 and younger do not need a license. Note that all Virginia fishing regulations and restrictions apply, and additional restrictions may be posted by sign.

Can you hunt on parkland?

There is no hunting on parkland unless you are a registered volunteer for the Fairfax County Deer Management Program. Hunting for other species is not permitted.

What do I do if I see someone hunting on parkland?

Registered volunteers for the Fairfax County Deer Management Program are required to carry program identification and display it to others when asked. This includes a blaze-orange lanyard with official ID card and identification placed on vehicle dashboards while hunting. If you suspect someone is not a registered volunteer or is not following proper procedure, please contact the Animal Control Deer Program Officer at 703-324-0280. Poachers can alsoalso can be reported directly to the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.

Map of Deer Management Program Locations

Deer Management

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Research & Projects

I would like to conduct research on natural resources on parkland. Who do I call?

A park use permit is the minimal requirement for all research activities held on parkland. Projects with significant ground disturbance may require additional permitting and review.

Please visit Organized Activities in Natural Areas on Parkland. There are two forms you must complete and turn in to the Park Services Division along with a $25 processing fee. Please describe your project in detail, including attachments as necessary.


I would like to hold an event on parkland. Who do I call?

A park use permit is required for most self-directed events held on parkland, including volunteer activities. For events held in natural areas, a supplemental form is required, in addition to the Park Use Permit Application.

The Park Authority maintains numerous volunteer opportunities that do not require a permit.

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