Closure Order #20-009
October 23, 2020
Record of Determination for the Temporary Closure of Public Facilities to Prevent the Spread of COVID-19
Closure Order – Portion of a Park Area: Pursuant to 36 CFR § 1.5(a)(I) the Superintendent is
continuing the temporary closure of National Park Service facilities and the limitation of some
activities to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. The National Park Service initially enacted these
restrictions in response to guidance and advisories from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC),
with Records of Determination (ROD) 1-7 and will continue until further notice.
The park will maintain the following limited closures as it resumes additional operations, and
may be extended until the Governor of the State of Maryland Executive Order 20-06-03-01 and
Proclamation of the State of Emergency and Prince George’s Health Department Orders related
to COVID-19 pandemic response social distancing requirements is rescinded or amended:
Oxon Hill Farm:
• Visitor Center
• Farm buildings
• Visitor Center
• Comfort Stations
• Parking Areas for group picnic area parking lots (A, B 1-4, C, D 1-2)
Restrictions and Public Use Limits: Pursuant to 36 CFR § l .5(a)(1), the National Park Service
issued a public use limitation for all permitted events and demonstrations covered by the
regulations at 36 CFR 7.96 for the Interior Region 1 - National Capital Area (NCA), which
includes Oxon Hill Farm and Oxon Cove Park, Fort Washington Park, Fort Foote Park, Harmony
Hall and Piscataway Park, areas in Prince George’s County, Maryland of National Capital Parks-
The National Park Service will resume issuing permits for park areas, as they reopen, for
demonstrations, commercial filming and photography, and special events, once park staffing levels, local jurisdiction guidance and CDC direction allow for groups smaller than 50 following Prince George’s County Health Department July 31, 2020 order.
When accepting permit applications following CDC guidance and best practices from sports governing bodies, the National Park Service will only allow organized athletic activity with a low to medium amount of risk. Acceptable uses include skill-based drills, conditioning and team-based practices. The National Park Service will not issue permits for organized athletic leagues including volleyball, softball, football, rugby and other organized team sports, or allow formal events, track meets, cross country meets or gameplay to occur in the park.
Additionally, following CDC guidance and restrictions placed on dining by local jurisdictions Fort Washington Park will not accept reservations for use of group picnic areas. These picnic areas remain open to public use. But until the park can meet CDC guidance on social distancing, restroom maintenance and trash removal for these large group picnic areas the park will not accept reservations via the online reservation system www.recreation.gov or special use permit applications for the use of these areas (Fort Washington group picnic areas: A, B 1-4, C D1-2). This limited public use restriction is in response to an unprecedented public health emergency. The NPS will continue to coordinate and consult with federal and local public health agencies and will periodically revisit this decision.
The temporary closures are not of a nature, magnitude or duration that will result in a "significant alteration in the public use pattern." The closures will not adversely affect the park's natural aesthetic or cultural values, nor require significant modification to the resource management objection, nor is it of a highly controversial nature.
Accordingly, the National Park Service determines publication as rulemaking in the Federal Register is unwarranted under 36 CFR § 1.5(c). This is consistent with hundreds of earlier partial and temporary park closures or public use limitations, the legal opinion of the Office of the Solicitor, and judicial adjudications. Mahoney v. Norton, No. 02-1715 (D.D.C. August 29, 2002), plaintiff’s emergency motion for injunction pending appeal denied Mahoney v. Norton, No. 02-5275 (D.C. Cir. September 9, 2002) (per curiam); Picciotto v. United States, No. 99-2113 (D.D.C. August 6, 1999); Picciotto v. United States, No. 94-1935(D.D.C. September 9, 1994); Picciotto v. Lujan, No. 90-1261 (D.D.C. May 30, 1990); Picciotto v. Hodel, No. 87-3290 (D.D.C. January 26, 1988); Spiegel v. Babbitt, 855 F. Supp. 402 (D.D.C.1994), aff'd in part w/o op. 56 F.3d 1531 (D.C. Cir. 1995), reported in full, 1995 US App. Lexis 15200 (D.C. Cir. May 31, 1995). Pursuant to 36 C.F.R. § 1.7, notice of this public use limitation will be made through media advisories, maps, and by posting at conspicuous locations in the affected park areas. Finally, pursuant to 36 C.F.R. § 1.5(c), this determination is available to the public upon request.
Notice: This administrative order applies to all individuals subject to the regulatory authority of the National Park Service (NPS) within the boundaries of Oxon Hill Farm and Oxon Cove Park, Fort Washington Park, Fort Foote Park, Harmony Hall and Piscataway Park, including park visitors, government employees, concession employees, park residents and stakeholders, except as follows: essential/critical employees and authorized park contractors.
Finding: The NPS issues this administrative order for the purposes of maintaining public health and safety during the COVID-19 pandemic emergency. This order is consistent with the following state public health directives:
• Prince Georges County Health Department Orders (Aug 4, 2020 and July 31, 2020) https://www.princegeorgescountymd.gov/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/3271 https://www.princegeorgescountymd.gov/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/3263
• Prince George’s County Executive Angela D. Alsobrooks, Executive Order 15-2020 extended per county resolution (CR-064-2020- July 7, 2020) [June 25, 2020] https://www.princegeorgescountymd.gov/Archive.aspx?ADID=3242
• Governor of the State of Maryland Order Extending State of Emergency [July 31, 2020] https://governor.maryland.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/2143_001.pdf
• Prince George’s County Executive Angela D. Alsobrooks, Executive Order 13-2020 [June 12, 2020] https://www.princegeorgescountymd.gov/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/3237
• Governor of the State of Maryland Order Number 20-06-03-01 [June 3, 2020] https://governor.maryland.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/Gatherings-EIGHTH-AMENDED-6.3.20.pdf
• Prince George’s County Executive Angela D. Alsobrooks, Executive Order 10-2020 [May 28, 2020] https://www.princegeorgescountymd.gov/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/3221
• National Park Service Covid-19 Adaptive Operations Recovery Plan [May 19, 2020]
• Prince George’s County Executive Angela D. Alsobrooks, Executive Order 8-2020 [May 14, 2020] 2020https://www.princegeorgescountymd.gov/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/3214
• Governor of the State of Maryland Order Number 20-03-30-01 [March 30, 2020] https://governor.maryland.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Gatherings-FOURTH-AMENDED-3.30.20.pdf
• Secretary of the Interior Memorandum Ensuring the Continued Performance of the Mission of the Department of the Interior during the Global Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic [March 22, 2020] https://www.doi.gov/employees/ensuring-continued-performance-mission-department-interior-during-global-coronavirus-covid
• Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended action of postponing or cancelling mass gathering to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
This order is effective immediately and the effectiveness of this order will be assessed on an ongoing basis, and the order will be modified or rescinded when conditions warrant, and is effect until further notice.