Laws & Policies

Record of Determination for the Temporary Closure of Public Facilities to Prevent the Spread of COVID-19

Pursuant to 36 CFR § 1.5(a)(I) the National Capital Parks-East 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 on March 20, 2020 in response to guidance and advisories from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). A Record of Determination (ROD) was extended several times through June 22, 2020. The National Capital Parks-East will maintain limited closures as it resumes additional operations.

The facility closures include public access to the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site, the Mary McLeod Bethune Council House National Historic Site, the Carter G. Woodson National Historic Site, Fort DuPont Amphitheater, and all public restroom facilities with the exception of the Anacostia Park restroom at Nicholson Street, SE.

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 National Capital Parks-East. Effective immediately, the National Park Service will resume issuing permits for demonstrations, commercial filming and photography, and special events. Resuming permitted activities marks a preliminary step in the Phase 2 reopening of park operations of sites within the National Capital Parks-East.

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 skillbased 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 gameplay to occur in the park.

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.
Signature of Tara Morrison, Superintendent, National Capital Parks-East. Dated 7/1/2020
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As of February 22, 2010, a new federal law makes possession of firearms in national parks subject to local and state firearms laws.

It is the responsibility of visitors to understand and comply with all applicable state, local, and federal firearms laws before entering this park. As a starting point, please visit the District of Columbia’s website.

District of Columbia Law

See Division I, Title 7, Subtitle J, Chapter 25

See also Division IV, Title 22, Subtitle VI, Chapter 45

District of Columbia Attorney General

Federal law continues to prohibit firearms in federal facilities in this park. Those federal facilities are marked with signs at public entrances. Thus firearms are prohibited within the Main Portico and Back Alley.

Last updated: July 1, 2020

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Mailing Address:

Mary McLeod Bethune Council House National Historic Site
1318 Vermont Avenue NW

Washington, DC 20005



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