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 a turtle collected in your back yard or a squirrel trapped in your attic, it cannot be moved across a property line, but 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 that can take it for you. You can also 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 have found it. 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 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 completely harmless and cannot 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 activity. Attempt to keep it calm and unharmed. For 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 wildflowers?
Many of our parks have wonderful wildflowers at different times of the year. You can locate blooming plants at some of our parks using the Nature Finder or by taking a walk in your local park.
Where can I go to see birds?
Many bird species live in or visit our parks at different times of the year. You can locate birds that can be found at some of our parks using the Nature Finder. You may also want to 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).
How can I find out more about nature in my local park?
Can I remove animals or plants from park land?
No. Removing plants, animals or any natural (or cultural) material from park land is against the law. If you see someone removing animals, plants or other materials from park land please contact the nearest Park Authority site which you can find using the Park Authority Park Locator. If there is not a Park Authority staffed site close by or the activity is occurring after hours, please call the Fairfax County Police non-emergency phone number 703 691-2131.
What are invasive plants and are they impacting park land?
Invasive species (plants, animals and everything else) are generally non-native to our area and cause harm to our natural areas by outgrowing, choking-out, eating (in the case of animals) or otherwise harming our native species. They are a huge problem in our parks. For more information see Green Links. Report invasive species with our online form.
Does the Park Authority manage wildlife species such as deer, geese and beaver?
The Park Authority seeks to allow native animal species to live without harm. However, with excessive white-tailed deer and non-migratory Canada geese populations the Park Authority participates in population control efforts. Our Wildlife Conflict Policy, Policy 202, provides guidance for all issues regarding wildife. To learn more about these efforts call the Naturalist Line at 703 324-8580. (see also: Green Links)
Where can I get rid of my yard debris?
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 or I-95 transfer stations. For more information visit the Fairfax County Yard Waste page. Park Authority regulations prohibit dumping of yard debris onto park land.
Who do I call if a contractor or someone in my neighborhood is encroaching (clearing, dumping, digging, landscaping, building fences, etc.) on park land?
Please contact the nearest staffed Park Authority site which you can find using the Park Locator. If the Park is not staffed call the Park Operations Division at 703 324-8594. If the encroachment 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 (emergency: 911; non-emergency 703-691-2131).
Can you fish on park land?
Yes, unless it is posted no fishing. People 16 years and old 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 park land?
No. There is no hunting on park land unless you are participating in a managed hunt coordinated by the Fairfax County Wildlife Biologist. Visit the Fairfax County Department of Animal Control Website for information on managed hunts.
What do I do if I see someone hunting on park land?
The County does allow legal hunting on a few park properties each year. These are coordinated through the Police Department and the County Wildlife Biologist. Park properties are posted and the neighbors are notified before the hunting begins. If you see someone hunting on parkland and there are no signs designating the park as an official hunt location, then the person is probably a poacher. If the poacher is in the park, please call 911. If there is evidence of hunting, but you do not see the poacher, please call the police non-emergency number at 703-691-2131.
I would like to conduct research on natural resources on park land. Who do I call?
Call the Park Authority's Naturalist Line at 703 324-8580.
I would like to conduct a project or event on park land. Who do I call?
Contact the staff at the park where you would like to conduct the project. If the park does not have staff on site, print out and submit the Park Use Permit Application.