For more than half a century, the National Park Service (NPS) has been at the heart of the Independence Day festivities on the National Mall. Every year, thousands of people come together on the Mall in honor of the founding of our nation. But what does it take to get the National Mall ready for the Fourth and the 250,000 visitors that will arrive?
Protecting our historic resources during this large event is a top priority. The week before the Fourth, NPS maintenance employees will install 18,000 linear feet of chain link fencing around the fireworks zone and other protected areas, 14,000 feet of bike rack, and 347 portable toilets (20% of which are ADA accessible) throughout the Mall.
Almost 350 NPS staff and volunteers work the day of the Fourth. This includes about 150 event logistics staff, Park Rangers, maintenance staff, and medical/EMS/safety personnel. However, it is the more than 200 volunteers who really provide the manpower to make this event a success.
The park tries to keep all infrastructure associated with the fireworks on hardscape or put down turf protection where needed. Approximately 3,000 shells are set off along the south side of the Lincoln Reflecting Pool for a 17 minute pyrotechnic show starting at 9:10 every year. DC Fire is on site during the event to ensure the safety of Park visitors and resources. Park staff and volunteers quickly remove debris from the reflecting pool and the fallout area after the event to make sure it is safe for visitors. Streets are swept clean and roads are reopened as soon as possible.
NPS is also responsible for trash/recycling collection on the National Mall. This year, the park will provide plastic bags to visitors at the entry points for trash and recycling. Visitors are encouraged to carry out their trash or leave the bags by a receptacle for pick-up by staff. Park maintenance employees will come back on Friday, July 5th, to remove the trash and recycling from the National Mall. The National Park Service is thankful for all our committed staff and volunteers for the hard work they put in behind the scenes to make this event happen.
Have a happy Independence Day! Enjoy the show!