Record of Determination for Temporary Closure of the Great Falls Visitor Center during Construction

Closure Order # 23-007

Pursuant to 36 CFR Section 1.5, the National Park Service is imposing a temporary closure to the Great Falls Visitor Center. The dates of the closure are November 1, 2023 until December 15, 2023. Unauthorized entry or activity is prohibited in this area while it is closed.

Due to this closure, beginning November 1, 2023, permit applications for physical presence in the area will be denied for any event or activity. Because the construction and associated activities do not reasonably permit multiple occupancy, the public will not be permitted in the Great Falls Visitor Center - except for the public restrooms in the courtyard. In the event that additional closures are necessary, persons are to immediately remove themselves and any personal property from these additional closed areas.

This temporary closure is not of a nature, magnitude, and duration that will result in a significant alteration in the public use pattern, insofar as these construction activities are necessary for the repair of the Great Falls Visitor Center. Consistent with NPS regulations, persons wishing to demonstrate may continue to use the remaining open park areas. Indeed, consistent with public safety, park areas subject to this decision, but not yet needed for construction and related activities will remain open until such time as closure is necessary. Fences and or signage, traffic cones and other barriers will mark closed areas.

Given the safety and security protections necessary in the closed areas for such construction and associated activities, less restrictive measures will not suffice. The closures will not adversely affect the park’s natural, aesthetic, or cultural values. The closures do not require significant modification to the resource management objectives, and are not of a highly controversial nature since this is similar to closures that occurred in the past.

Nothing in this order is intended to prevent the National Park Service, its employees, volunteers, partners, contractors, subcontractors or designees from access and fulfilling their administrative duties and responsibilities.

This temporary activity restriction is not of a nature, magnitude, or duration that will result in an adverse affect to the park’s natural, aesthetic, scenic, or cultural values; will not require significant modification to the park’s resource management objectives; and is not of a highly controversial nature. Accordingly, the National Park Service has determined that publication of this temporary restriction as rulemaking in the Federal Register is not required under 36 CFR 1.5(c). This determination is consistent with hundreds of earlier partial or temporary closures, the legal opinion of the Office of the Solicitor, and judicial adjudications that have upheld other NPS closures and public use limitations. Spiegel v. Babbitt, 855 F. Supp. 402 (D.D.C. 1994) affd 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); ANSWER Coalition v. Norton, No. 05-0071, (D.D.C. January 18, 2005), Mahoney v. Norton, No. 02-1715 (D.D.C. August 22, 2002), plaintiff’s emergency motion for appeal for injunction pending appealed denied Mahoney v. Norton, No. 02-5275 (D.C. Cir. September 9, 2002) (per curium); Picciotto v. United States, No. 99-2113 (D.D.C. August 6, 1999); Picciotto v. Lujan, No. 90-1261 (D.D.C. May 30, 1990) Picciotto v. Hodel, No. 87-3290 (D.D.C. December 7, 1987).

This order is effective immediately and will remain in effect until December 15, 2024. Pursuant to 36 CFR Section 1.7, notice of this temporary closure will be made through media advisories, fencing and posting of signs at conspicuous locations in the affected park area. Finally, pursuant to 36 CFR Section (1.5), this determination is available to the public upon request.

Approval: Charles Cuvelier, Superintendent
Date: Novemeber 9, 2023

Last updated: November 24, 2023

Park footer

Contact Info

Mailing Address:

George Washington Memorial Parkway Headquarters
700 George Washington Memorial Parkway

McLean, VA 22101


703 289-2500

Contact Us