Some City Parks and Nature Areas to Close 4 p.m. to 7 a.m. for Deer Control Efforts Jan. 2–March 1, 2016

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*Updated* Dec. 17, 2015: All parks to remain open Saturdays and Sundays

Archived News Release: December 15, 2015 - ​In August, City Council approved the establishment of Ann Arbor's deer management program, which includes culling deer on city property in Wards 1 and 2 during the next four years. The city has contracted with the United States Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Wildlife Services (USDA-APHIS), whose marksmen will cull and remove up to 100 deer from pre-designated City of Ann Arbor parks and nature areas beginning on January 2**, 2016.

*Earlier this week, the City of Ann Arbor issued information about parks and natural areas in Wards 1 and 2 that will be closed Jan. 2** to March 1**, 2016, in order for the United States Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Wildlife Services (USDA-APHIS) marksmen to cull and remove up to 100 deer.*

*City staff has heard community concerns and feedback and wants to remind all citizens that the No. 1 priority remains public safety. In light of the information received and in coordination with the USDA-APHIS, one modification to the deer management program is being made. All parks and natural areas will remain open Saturdays and Sundays.​* ​

*In addition, answers to the following questions have been added to the FAQs available online:

1.      What happens if someone disregards a park's closure?

Violations of park rules are evaluated on a case by case basis. In the case of deer management activities, safety is the city's No. 1 priority and Ann Arbor Police will respond accordingly to individuals who violate park closures.

2.      If cull activities are completed before March 1**, will the parks reopen? 

Yes. All parks will reopen and residents will be notified if cull activities are completed before March 1**.

3.      Who authorized the par​k closures?

Chapter 39 of the Ann Arbor City Code, Section 3:3 authorizes park closures by the Community Services Area Administrator, Public Services Area Administrator or designee. The Community Services Area Administrator authorized designated parks to be closed during specific times from Jan. 2** to March 1**, 2016 to ensure safety during deer management activities. 

4.      Will walking and biking trails be closed in d​​​esignated parks? 

Yes. Safety is the city's No. 1 priority during deer management activities. Therefore, all walking and biking trails located within designated parks will be closed. There are 47 additional parks within Wards 1 and 2 that remain open regular hours. However, commuters who routinely use trails within the closed parks will instead need to seek alternative routes during this time. Parks will reopen if cull activities are completed before March 1** and residents will be notified.​*

The following City of Ann Arbor parks and nature areas​ (PDF**) will be closed for deer control efforts from 4 p.m. to 7 a.m. *Monday through Friday* from January 2** to March 1**, 2016. *All parks will remain open on Saturdays and Sundays.​* Parks that include the border-to-border trail also will remain open.​**​

  1. Arbor Hills Nature Area
  2. Barton Nature Area
  3. Bird Hills Nature Area    
  4. Black Pond Woods Nature Area
  5. Bluffs Nature Area
  6. Braun Nature Area
  7. Cedar Bend Nature Area
  8. Dhu Varren Woods Nature Area
  9. Foxfire South Nature Area
  10. Foxfire West Nature Area
  11. Furstenberg Nature Area
  12. Huron Parkway Nature Area
  13. Kuebler Langford Nature Area
  14. Leslie Park Golf Course
  15. Leslie Woods Nature Area
  16. Narrow Gauge Nature Area
  17. Oakridge Nature Area
  18. Oakwoods Nature Area
  19. Olson Park - Dog park will remain open during its regular hours.
  20. Onder Nature Area
  21. Ruthven Nature Area
  22. South Pond Nature Area
  23. Stapp Nature Area
  24. Traver Creek Nature Area

Signage will be posted at impacted park and nature area entrances to notify visitors of closures; *and this information can also be found on the deer management program Web page.* Residents living near designated parks or nature areas will be informed of these closures directly via postcard. In addition, the City's Communication Office will utilize local media, social media, Community Television Network, the city's website and email notifications to inform citizens of these park closures.      

USDA and city staff worked together to identify cull sites based upon specific criteria including:

  • Public safety

  • Size and shape of the city-owned property

  • Terrain

  • Surrounding land-use and housing density

  • Proximity to neighbors

  • Ease of access

  • Attractiveness of the location for deer

All deer cull activities will be performed by highly experienced USDA-APHIS marksmen who are specially trained to conduct a cull in an urban setting with precision, accuracy and safety as top priorities.

USDA-APHIS personnel:

  • Practice a principle of "SHE" – safe, humane, effective

  • Are experienced in a wide variety of wildlife damage and disease issues, including deer removal in urban and other sensitive areas

  • Must pass stringent firearms safety and proficiency qualifications before using firearms, and re-qualify regularly

  • Are trained and equipped with the latest tools and techniques to reduce disturbance and allow for efficient and safe deer removal

  • Can commit full time and attention to accomplishing established goals

  • Are trained on proper single shot selection to effectively and humanely take deer

  • Are trained Wildlife Biologists and Wildlife Specialists, most with educational backgrounds in Wildlife or Natural Resources management 

  • Must complete comprehensive background checks and drug testing prior to employment

The goal of Ann Arbor's deer management program is to decrease the deer population in Ann Arbor in order to reduce deer-human negative interactions and support biological diversity in natural areas. The City is also answering frequently asked questions in a document, which is available at  ​

Note: ** indicates updates to this news item made Dec. 28, 2015.

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Media Contact Information

Lisa Wondrash
Communications Unit Manager
[email protected]

Ann Arbor has 119,000 residents, spans 28.9 square miles and is frequently recognized as a foremost place to live, learn, work, thrive and visit. To keep up with City of Ann Arbor information, subscribe for email updates, follow us on Twitter or become a city fan on Facebook. The city's mission is to deliver exceptional services that sustain and enhance a vibrant, safe and diverse community.