Prince William Forest Park Natural Resource Condition Assessment
Located approximately 35 miles south of Washington, D.C., Prince William Forest Park occupies 15,000 acres in Prince William County, Virginia. The park is the largest protected area in the region and is the third largest national park in the state of Virginia. It is also the largest example of a Piedmont forest in the national park system, and serves as a sanctuary for a diversity of plants and animals which are threatened by increasing development in northern Virginia. The vital signs framework was used to assess natural resource condition within Prince William Forest Park. Natural resources in Prince William Forest Park are in moderate condition overall and are under threat from surrounding land use (increased development), regionally poor air quality, overpopulation of deer, and exotic species and pests. Climate change is predicted to negatively affect many of the natural resources of the park, including increasing ozone levels and particle pollution, raising the water temperature of streams, changing forest composition, and allowing for the success of exotic species and forest pests and disease.