National Mall and Memorial Parks Superintendent's Compendium
May 24, 2021
This Compendium for National Mall and Memorial Parks lists the various restrictions, conditions, public use limitations, closures and other designations that are allowed under the discretionary authority of the Superintendent. The Superintendent’s discretionary authority is based on certain National Park Service (NPS) general regulations in the U.S. Code – 36 CFR – Parks, Forest and Public Property. 36 CFR Parts 1-6 as well as the Park’s special regulation at 36 CFR 7.96, apply to the National Capital Region. This Compendium is separate and apart from the NPS general regulations at 36 CFR Parts 1-6, the NPS Management Policies, and the National Mall and Memorial Parks special regulation at 36 CFR 7.96, which may be found on the NPS’s website at https://www.nps.gov/aboutus/lawsandpolicies.htm and at the Government Printing Office’s website at www.ecfr.gov.
A signed version is available from the Superintendent's Office.
ADDENDUM - Mandated wearing of masks (August 28, 2021)
Table of Contents
The following terms shall apply to this Compendium, unless modified by the definitions for a specific part or regulation:
• Memorials are defined in the Commemorative Works Act (40 US Code Chapter 89) and include the Lincoln Memorial, Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Korean War Veterans Memorial, Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, Washington Monument, World War II Memorial, Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, Thomas Jefferson Memorial, District of Columbia War Memorial, George Mason Memorial, National Law Enforcement Memorial, Japanese American Memorial to Patriotism During World War II Memorial, United States Navy Memorial, African American Civil War Memorial, German American Friendship Garden, and other memorials, monuments, and statues and their associated landscapes within park boundaries.
• CFR Restricted Areas are defined in 36 Code of Federal Regulations 7.96.
• Pedicab is defined as a bicycle with two rear wheels and one front wheel designed to be ridden by one person and to transport passengers on attached rear seats.
• Scooter means a two-, three- or four-wheeled motor vehicle.
• Bike share or dockless bicycle programs are rental bicycles available for short-term use. Some can be acquired at fixed docking locations, others are found using a mobile application with GPS coordinates identifying the location of the bicycles.
• E-Bikes are bicycles with an electric motor that provides pedal or propulsion assistance for inclines and added efficiency.
• Motorized Personal Mobility Devices such as Segways® and motorized wheelchairs are defined as wheeled vehicles that are self-propelled. They are considered motor vehicles under the CFR.
• Unmanned Aircraft means a device that is used or intended to be used for flight in the air without the possibility of direct human intervention from within or on the device, and the associated operational elements and components that are required for the pilot or system operator in command to operate or control the device (such as cameras, sensors, communication links). This term includes all types of devices that meet this definition (e.g., model airplanes, quadcopters, and drones) that are used for any purpose, including for recreation or commerce.
The specific discretionary authority for Park Superintendents to establish reasonable schedules for visiting hours, impose public use limits, and close park areas for all public use or specific use is found at 36 CFR 1.5. These park-specific restrictions are also based upon 36 CFR, Chapters 1-7 to protect park resources, visitors and employees, as well as the National Park Service (NPS) Management Policies. Under CFR 1.7, notice of all restrictions, closures, designations and permit requirements will be made available to the general public by at least one or more of the following methods of notification: maps, brochures, signs, permits, websites, or other appropriate methods, as well as within this compendium. Finally, any Records of Determination are available upon request under 36 CFR 1.5(c).
Pursuant to 36 CFR 1.5 the following are closures, public use limits or restrictions applicable within National Mall and Memorial Parks. Other closures may occur:
The following areas and sites are generally open to public entry at the specified times below. Dates and times listed are approximate, being dependent upon weather, staffing, and funding levels, as well as unforeseen circumstances. Current hours of operation or other specific site information may be obtained by contacting the sites listed below, visiting the National Mall and Memorial Parks website (https://www.nps.gov/nama/index.htm) , calling (202) 426-6841 (except where otherwise specified), or by writing to the Superintendent, National Mall and Memorial Parks, 900 Ohio Drive, SW, Washington, D.C. 20024-2000.
1) Washington Monument: Open daily, except July 4 and December 25. Staffed by Park Rangers and NPS volunteers from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. (9:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m. April 1 to Labor Day). Timed tickets are required for entry to the Washington Monument. Tickets are available onsite and online.
2) Lincoln Memorial: Open daily. Staffed by Park Rangers and NPS volunteers, except December 25, from 9:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m. From 10:00 p.m. to 9:00 a.m., the memorial is monitored by United States Park Police (USPP) officers and no restrooms or other visitor services are available.
3) Thomas Jefferson Memorial: Open daily. Staffed by Park Rangers and NPS volunteers, except December 25, from 9:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m. From 10:00 p.m. to 9:00 a.m., the memorial is monitored by USPP officers and no restrooms or other visitor services are available.
4) Vietnam Veterans Memorial: Open daily. Staffed by Park Rangers and NPS volunteers, except December 25, from 9:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m. From 10:00 p.m. to 9:00 a.m., the site is monitored by USPP officers and no restrooms or other visitor services are available.
5) Korean War Veterans Memorial: Open daily. Staffed by Park Rangers and NPS volunteers, except December 25, from 9:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m. From 10:00 p.m. to 9:00 a.m., the site is monitored by USPP officers and no restrooms or other visitor services are available.
6) Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial: Open daily. Staffed by Park Rangers and NPS volunteers, except December 25, from 9:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m. From 10:00 p.m. to 9:00 a.m., the site is monitored by USPP officers and no restrooms or other visitor services are available.
7) Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial: Open daily. Staffed by Park Rangers and NPS volunteers, except December 25, from 9:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m. From 10:00 p.m. to 9:00 a.m., the site is monitored by USPP officers and no restrooms or other visitor services are available.
8) World War II Memorial: Open daily. Staffed by Park Rangers and NPS volunteers, except December 25, from 9:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m. From 10:00 p.m. to 9:00 a.m., the site is monitored by USPP officers and no restrooms or other visitor services are available.
9) Constitution Gardens: Open daily. Not staffed by Park Rangers but is monitored by Park Rangers and USPP officers.
10) Ford’s Theatre National Historic Site: Open daily. Staffed by Park Rangers and NPS volunteers, except Thanksgiving and December 25, from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. Access may be limited during performances. (202) 426-6924.
11) Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument: Open Wednesday through Sunday. Staffed by Park Rangers and NPS volunteers, except Thanksgiving and December 25, from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. (202) 543-2240.
12) African American Civil War Memorial, District of Columbia (D.C.) War Memorial, National Law Enforcement Memorial. U.S. Navy Memorial, George Mason Memorial, Pennsylvania Avenue National Historic Site, Japanese American Memorial to Patriotism During World War II, American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial, and all other monuments and memorials in parks under the purview of National Mall and Memorial Parks (as outlined in the appendix to this document): Open daily. Sites are not staffed by Park Rangers but are monitored by USPP officers.
13) National Mall and Memorial Parks Headquarters: 900 Ohio Drive SW, Washington, DC 20024. Open Monday to Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. except on federal holidays. (202) 245-4660.
1) Washington Monument interior staircase is closed to the public except during emergencies and by special permission of the superintendent.
2) Access to the roofs and interior understructures of any memorial are prohibited except as authorized by the superintendent.
3) East Potomac Park may close to vehicle traffic from the east gate to the west intersection of Ohio and Buckeye Drives during time of high tides, flooding, snow emergencies, or as needed to meet public safety concerns for special events. This may include visitors on foot, bicycle and other non-motorized vehicles.
4) Washington Monument and other memorials may close for high winds, weather conditions, mechanical failure or other emergency situations.
5) Other areas of the park may be closed for special use permits, resource management and protection, public safety concerns and other maintenance or roadwork reasons. In those cases, fences or signage may be used to indicate the closure, and a notification or Record of Determination will be posted either through the National Mall and Memorial Parks website or in the Park’s permit office.
The following public use limitations are in place.
1) All Memorials:
a) Eating, or drinking (except water) are prohibited within the memorials or 36 CFR 7.96 restricted areas.
b) Any wreath or flower laying ceremony requires a permit. This does not affect individuals leaving wreaths or flowers.
c) Wreaths left at memorials will remain in place no longer than one week and will be removed earlier if greenery and flowers are wilted, or removed due to severe weather conditions.
d) Any sound amplification equipment must not unreasonably disturb nonparticipating persons or others in the vicinity of the area.
e) Honor guard or cordons follow the same rules as the public unless they are part of a permitted event where exceptions are listed in the permit. Only the Military District of Washington, D.C. is allowed to carry ceremonial weapons. Jogging, dancing, singing, climbing or exercise-type activities are prohibited in 36 CFR 7.96 restricted zones.
f) No items including floating lanterns, model boats, and lighting, may be placed into any Park water feature, except as authorized by the Superintendent.
g) In order to accommodate public enjoyment of the park and the Tidal Basin, leashed pets are allowed to walk within 36 CFR 7.96 “open air” restricted areas such as the Martin Luther King, Jr. and Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorials. Pets are prohibited from all covered or chamber areas, with the exception of service animals. Pets must be restrained at all times while in the park. Pet waste must be collected and disposed of by placing in a plastic bag and placing in a trash receptacle.
h) The images of most memorials and monuments are in the public domain and may be used without permission. However, the Three Servicemen Statue, Vietnam Women’s Memorial, Korean War Veterans Memorial, Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, Japanese American Memorial to Patriotism During World War II “Bell”, World War II Memorial, and Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial are copyrighted. It is the responsibility of anyone using images of those memorials commercially to obtain permission from the copyright holder.
i) Washington Monument public-use security limitations prohibit stun guns, ammunition, knives of any size or any sharp edged instrument, mace or aerosol cans, suitcases, duffel bags or backpacks larger than 18” x 16” x 8”, strollers, food (except for a small quantity of sealed food items, beverages (except water or baby formula in clear plastic containers) or tangible objects that could reasonable threaten public safety and security.
j) The following types of filming activities may occur in areas open to the public without a permit and without advance notice to the NPS:
Violating a term or condition of a permit issued under to this action may also result in the suspension and revocation of the permit by the Superintendent.
2) Ford’s Theatre National Historic Site:
a) The closed area includes all areas where the public is not allowed, including the Presidential Box and areas of the Petersen House behind roped-off areas.
b) Commercial filming and photography are only allowed under a permit within the interior of both Ford’s Theatre and Petersen House. It may occur outside of normal visiting hours, play rehearsals and performances.
3) Pursuant to the Record of Determination dated June 14, 2013, and in accordance with the NPS Turf Operations & Maintenance Manual, public use limitations and partial/temporary closure procedures exist to protect the Mall Turf Panels. The documents can be found on the National Mall and Memorial Parks website at https://www.nps.gov/nama/learn/management/index.htm.
1) Visitors with Disabilities. Pursuant to the Record of Determination dated March 22, 2010, any park visitor with a disability is permitted to use a motorized personal mobility device throughout the park, including all structures, facilities, park roads, sidewalks, trails and other surfaces when such devices are used for the sole purpose of mobility assistance and shall have all the rights and duties applicable to a pedestrian.
2) Motorized Personal Mobility Devices. Unless operated by a person with a disability, motorized personal mobility devices may only operate on sidewalks or multi-use trails in the following locations:
a) On the National Mall and Memorial Parks adjacent to 3rd, 4th, 7th, and 14th Streets and between Constitution and Independence Avenues NW
b) Along Pennsylvania Avenue from 3rd to 15th Streets NW, including Freedom Plaza
c) Along Ohio Drive SW between East Basin Drive and the entrance of East Potomac Golf Course
d) National Mall route
e) West Potomac Park loop
These designated park sidewalk routes are more fully described in the National Mall and Memorial Parks Record of Determination for Segways® or other motorized personal mobility devices – Authorized Route map dated March 22, 2010 (attached as Appendix A). This is available on the park website at nps.gov/nama or by writing the park superintendent. Users of motorized personal mobility devices must also adhere to the following operating standards, most of which are also required under District of Columbia regulations on safe use of electric personal assistive mobility device:
• No person under 16 years of age may operate a motorized personal mobility device.
• A person shall operate any motorized personal mobility device in a safe and non-hazardous manner so not to endanger oneself or any other person. The maximum speed of the motorized personal mobility device will not exceed more than 8 M.P.H.
• Motorized Personal Mobility Devices should be parked alongside the bicycle racks at each Monument and Memorial (see attached Appendix B for a map providing these locations).
3) Pedicabs. Pursuant to a Record of Determination dated June 29, 2012, pedicabs are allowed on park roads available to public vehicle traffic within the boundaries of National Mall and Memorial Parks. Pedicabs are prohibited on multi-use trails and sidewalks unless approved in writing by the superintendent. This is due to pedicabs large dimensions, which is larger and heavier than bicycles, and whose operation could negatively impact pedestrian safety except on park roads. Pedicabs are allowed to stage/wait for passengers only in those locations designated with a sign as a Pedicab Stand. Pedicab operators are required to have a valid NPS issued Commercial Use Authorization (CUA) Identification card visible at all times while operating in the park. Pedicabs with a motor of any kind (including "electric start” or “assist motors") are not allowed to operate in the park. Pedicab CUA requirements follow the DC code for Pedicabs at 18 DCMR 1213, which states “Pedicabs shall be operated in accordance with the safe operation of bicycle regulations set forth in § 1201”.
a) 36 CFR 4.30 prohibits the use of bicycles except on park roads, in parking areas, and on routes designated for bicycle use. Bicycles are allowable on sidewalks outside of the memorials; however, bicycle users must walk their bicycles through the memorials and along Tidal Basin walks. Bicycles are not allowed on the steps, colonnades, or within the chambers of District of Columbia War Memorial, Lincoln, and Thomas Jefferson memorials, nor allowed inside the Washington Monument.
b) Commercial or guided bicycle groups are not permitted in any 36 CFR 7.96 restricted area.
c) Bicycles should be parked in the bicycle racks at each Monument and Memorial (see attached Appendix B for a map providing these locations).
d) E-bikes--Under the authority of 54 U.S.C. Section 100751(a) and Title 36 Code of Federal Regulations §1.5(a)(2) the Superintendent is designating the following areas for a specific use or activity.
1.The term “e-bike” means a two- or three-wheeled cycle with fully operable pedals and an electric motor of less than 750 watts (1 h.p.).
2. E-bikes are allowed in the National Mall and Memorial Parks where traditional bicycles are allowed. E-bikes are prohibited where traditional bicycles are prohibited. Except where use of motor vehicles by the public is allowed, using the electric motor to move an e-bike without pedaling is prohibited.
3. A person operating an e-bike is subject to the following sections of 36 CFR part 4 that apply to the use of traditional bicycles: sections 4.12, 4.13, 4.20, 4.21, 4.22, 4.23, and 4.30(h)(2)-(5).
4. Except as specified in this Compendium, the use of an e-bike within the National Mall and Memorial Parks is governed by State law, which is adopted and made a part of this Compendium. Any violation of State law adopted by this paragraph is prohibited.
i. E-bikes are allowed on park roads, parking areas, sidewalks outside of the memorials, and routes designated for bicycle use. E-bikes must be walked through the memorials and along Tidal Basin walks. E-bikes are not allowed on the steps, colonnades, or within the chambers of District of Columbia War Memorial, Lincoln, and Thomas Jefferson memorials, nor allowed inside the Washington Monument.
5) No Vehicles on Turf. No unauthorized vehicles (including golf carts, carts, trucks, bicycles) are allowed to drive or park on park turf.
6) No Vehicle Maintenance or Repair. Maintenance, repair (except for emergencies), washing, and waxing of any vehicle are prohibited in all park areas.
a) No buses are allowed to stop/stand/load or unload in the bus stops designated for DC Circulator and Big Bus Tours, the National Mall and Memorial Parks’ interpretive bus tour Concessioner.
b) Bus loading/unloading is restricted to drop-off and pick-up zones indicated by signage. No bus parking/standing is authorized at any of the memorials at any time.
c) Bus idling is prohibited in all areas except during loading and unloading of passengers. DC idling regulations apply (DC Municipal regulations rule 4478701 - 20-900 ONROAD ENGINE IDLING AND NONROAD DIESEL ENGINE IDLING) which allow 3 minutes of idling, except when temperatures are below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, 5 minutes are allowed.
d) Bus parking is authorized at signed, parking meter locations at the bus rate.
e) Lincoln Circle is only authorized for bus use by Circulator and the NPS authorized interpretive bus service, and other government vehicles.
8) Restricted Roads. Park roads with restricted public access include 23rd Street SW, south of Lincoln Memorial, Daniel French Drive, and Home Front Drive. Exceptions are made for government vehicles, tour buses and tour vehicles, taxicabs, and vehicles with handicap markers/decals or handicap visitors loading or unloading.
9) Snow and Emergency Roads. Constitution and Independence Avenues are designated as snow emergency and emergency evacuation routes. All vehicles parked or disabled on these roads during emergencies are subject to immediate towing without prior notification.
10) Parking Meters. The National Mall and Memorial Parks has been authorized to install parking meters throughout the park. The hours, rate and days for meter operation will be 7 a.m. – 8 p.m. (except for rush hour restricted Constitution Avenue); $2.00 per hour, every day except December 25. Meters accept credit cards and Parkmobile parking app as payment.
1) Balloons. All balloons are prohibited in the park, unless otherwise authorized by the superintendent. As a condition of a park permit, large helium-filled balloons may be carried in a parade under a permit and cold-air filled balloon structures may be placed on parklands. Such permitted balloons must remain tethered at all times, and all reasonable efforts will be made to recover any lost balloons.
2) Kites. Flying kites using glass-coated or other abrasive non-biodegradable kite string or line in the park is prohibited. The flying of kites must not negatively affect other visitors. All persons engaged in kite flying must make a reasonable effort to prevent resource damage, including collecting all kite materials.
3) Unmanned Aircraft. Pursuant to 36 CFR 1.5 and a Record of Determination dated August 13, 2014, the launching, landing or operation of unmanned aircraft, including remote model airplanes and drones, is prohibited in the park.
4) Parasailing, windboarding, and gliding are prohibited in the park.
5) Golfing. Hitting golf balls outside the boundaries of East Potomac Golf Course is also prohibited.
a) Private-tented events are limited to the West Potomac Park private reception area, Henry Bacon Ball Field, Constitution Gardens and the Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument (when authorized under a permit). West Potomac Park and Constitution Gardens should be used as the primary festival locations whenever possible.
b) During permitted events, personal tents, shelters, volleyball nets, or other structures anchored by stakes less than eight (8) inches in length are allowable in park areas. Anchoring with stakes over 8 inches is allowed only by permit in certain locations.
7) Fishing is permitted in the Potomac River, Washington Channel, Tidal Basin, and Constitution Gardens Lake and requires a D.C. Fishing license.
8) Picnicking for groups under 25 is allowed in most areas of the park, but is not allowed in the 36 CFR 7.96 restricted areas of any monument or memorial. Reserved picnicking at Hains Point can be booked online (available at Recreation.gov).
9) Model/Toy Boats. Flotation of radio-powered model boats and uniquely constructed model sailboats with large wind-driven sails are allowed on Constitution Gardens Lake but prohibited in all other artificial or natural waters of the park.
10) Camping. Under 36 CFR 7.96(i)(1), camping is prohibited in all areas of the park.
11) Pyrotechnics, Fireworks, Lasers and Projected Lights. All personal displays such as pyrotechnics, fireworks, lasers and projected lights on memorials, are prohibited except pursuant to the terms and conditions of a permit or in designated areas under such conditions as the superintendent may establish, and in accordance with applicable State law.
a) 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 (http://dc.gov/) or the following link for District of Columbia’s Official Code (http://www.lexisnexis.com/hottopics/dccode/).
• See Division I, Title 7, Subtitle J, Chapter 25
• See also Division IV, Title 22, Subtitle VI, Chapter 45
b) Federal law continues to prohibit firearms in all federal facilities in this park. Those federal facilities are marked with signs at public entrances. Thus firearms are prohibited in the Washington Monument and Lodge, Lincoln Memorial, Thomas Jefferson Memorial, Survey Lodge, National Mall and Memorial Parks Headquarters and Maintenance Facilities. The prohibition extends to other facilities within the footprint of the National Mall and Memorial Parks: National Capital Regional Headquarters, United States Park Police Headquarters, and East Potomac Golf Course.
13) Winter Recreational Activities.
a) Ice-skating is permitted on Constitution Gardens Lake when posted; it is prohibited in all other park areas.
b) Winter activities such as skiing, snowshoeing, sledding and other similar activities are not permitted in 36 CFR 7.96 restricted areas. Those activities are permitted on Hains Point sidewalk area and on grass or sidewalk sections of the National Mall when snow completely covers the surface and is deep enough so that no equipment comes in contact with grass or paved surfaces.
14) Recreational Equipment.
a) Cones, bases, goals and other items left overnight will be impounded.
b) Trash generated by sports or games, as well as equipment (including bases, cones, goals) must be picked up and removed from the park by the recreational users.
15) Turf Use. Turf is managed and protected to ensure a quality turf is available for all to enjoy. Pursuant to the June 14, 2013, and in accordance with the NPS Turf Operations & Maintenance Manual, public use limitations and partial/temporary closure procedures exist to protect the Mall Turf Panels.
a) 36 CFR 7.96 b (2) prohibits all sports on wet lawns or when otherwise unsuitable for play without damage to the turf.
b) No cleats are allowed on the National Mall.
c) Digging, staking, or otherwise damaging turf is prohibited.
d) No access to turf is allowed during frosts, saturated conditions, or conditions that would cause turf damage. A Record of Determination for a Short Term Closure of a Portion of the National Mall will be put in place. Notice of the closure will occur through signage, fencing, red flags, posting on the Park’s website or in the Park Permit Office, or by ranger or officer on-site direction. Pursuant to 36 C.F.R. § 1.5(c), this Record of Determination is available to the public upon request. Violation is prohibited.
Significant dates of national commemoration and remembrance are designated as national celebration or commemoration events at the Park. The National Park Service will manage the permitting process for commemorative ceremonies occurring at the memorials and monument on these dates:
• Columbus Statue: Columbus Day official holiday date.
• Ford’s Theatre National Historic Site: Abraham Lincoln’s Birthday, February 12; Abraham Lincoln’s assassination and death, April 14 and 15.
• Korean War Veterans Memorial: Memorial Day; Invasion Day, June 25; Korean War Armistice Day, July 27; Veterans Day, November 11.
• Lincoln Memorial: Abraham Lincoln’s Birthday, February 12.
• Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial: Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Birthday, January 15; “I Have a Dream” speech, August 28; Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination, April 4.
• Thomas Jefferson Memorial: Thomas Jefferson’s Birthday, April 13.
• Vietnam Veterans Memorial: Memorial Day; Veterans Day, November 11.
• Washington Monument: George Washington’s Birthday, February 22.
• World War II Memorial: VE Day, May 8; Memorial Day; VJ Day, September 2; Veterans Day, November 11; Pearl Harbor Day, December 7.
• Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument: Alice Paul's Birthday, January 11; Alva Belmont's Birthday, January 17; Establishment of National Woman's Party, June 5; Women's Equality Day (ratification of 19th Amendment), August 26.
Note NPS special regulations in 36 CFR 7.96 for applications for demonstration and special event permits. Applications must be submitted from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding federal holidays, to: NPS, Permits Management Office, 900 Ohio Drive, SW, Washington, D.C. 20024 (phone: 202-245-4715). Applicants must provide the following information on the required form:
• Name of applicant/organization and telephone number
• Date, time, and duration of proposed activity
• Nature of activity and proposed location
• Number of persons involved/expected
• Equipment and facilities desired
• Provisions made for clean-up and site restoration
A reference document entitled “Event Planning Guide” is available for additional information on the permitting process.
A) Activities that require a permit include:
• All special events including but not limited to, sports events, pageants, regattas, public spectators attractions
• Public assemblies, meetings, demonstrations, parades, public expressions of views with participants over 25
• Displaying advertisements during special events. This requires a Secretarial waiver. Otherwise, it is prohibited CFR (5.1); Public Law 108-108 Title I, Sec. 145.
• Commercial photography and filming CFR (5.5); CFR (7.96) and Director’s Order #53
• Weddings: Approved areas include District of Columbia War Memorial, west side of the Thomas Jefferson Memorial and George Mason Memorial. Reception tents and other types of support structures are prohibited.
• Open fire in a personally provided container as part of a religious ceremony expression.
B) Other activities that require a permit include the following with its CFR reference:
• Specimen Collection CFR (2.5) (ii)
• Research Surveys CFR (2.51)
• Memorialization CFR (2.62) (vi)
• Operating a business CFR (5.3) (vii)
• Operating a commercial vehicle CFR (5.6) (viii)
• Special use – construction CFR (5.7)
C) Sporting Event Permits
1) Permits are required from May 1 to September 30 for the use of all sports fields located within the park. At all other times, these fields are opened on a first use basis. Fields may be closed as part of an annual rehabilitation and maintenance program. The following areas require a permit issued from the National Park Service, except as noted:
a) The three multi-use fields south of the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool (the JFK Hockey Field); the multi-use field on Hains Point; fields bounded by Independence Avenue, Ohio Drive and West Basin Drive; the 900 Ohio Drive ball field and the softball fields on the Washington Monument Grounds can be reserved online (available at Recreation.gov)..
b) The Henry Bacon Drive softball fields, the FDR softball fields, the softball fields at 23rd Street and Constitution Avenue and at 23rd Street and Independence Avenue, and the Raoul Wallenberg Place multiuse field can be reserved online (available at Recreation.gov).
c) The volleyball courts northwest of the Lincoln Memorial on the east side of the park walkway (Parkway Drive Volleyball Courts) can be reserved online (available at Recreation.gov). Courts #1 through #6 can be reserved through this system, however Courts #7 through #11 are set aside as challenge courts. For volleyball tournaments, courts must be permitted through the National Mall and Memorial Parks Division of Permits Management. Courts #1 through #6, and Courts #9 and #10 are available for tournament play, however Courts #7, #8, and #11 must remain open as challenge courts.
2) Specific information on all organized runs, races, and biking events can be found within the Record of Determination for the Continued Public Use Limitation Guidelines for Footraces, Organized Runs and Bicycle Events in National Mall and Memorial Parks dated September 23, 2016.
Copies of the Compendium and activity area maps are available online at www.nps.gov/nama (click “Management”) and available upon request at National Mall and Memorial Parks, Permits Management Office, 900 Ohio Drive, SW, Washington, D.C., 20024, (202) 245-4715.
A) News Media
1) News media questions are to be directed to the Office of Communications. Contact information for this Office can be found at https://www.nps.gov/nama/learn/news/index.htm.
2) News media covering news stories within the National Mall and Memorial Parks may film using minimal equipment, i.e. camera, tripod and minimal crew, without a permit with the exception of the restricted areas; no filming, regardless of equipment type or crew size, may take place within restricted areas.
3) News media planning more elaborate setup, i.e., anchor chairs, studio setup, dollies, etc., must apply for a permit (see permit rules above). Media should contact the Office of Permits Management about their request a minimum of two weeks in advance. The requesting media outlet may be billed for overtime costs for park support based on the conditions of the permit.
4) News media must carry media credentials and present those credentials when requested by park personnel.
5) Coverage of news is subject to the same restrictions and conditions as permitted events, which are necessary to protect park resources and values. Although permits are not required for (no-setup) news stories, restricted areas and federal regulations still apply.
6) Parking for satellite and microwave trucks and transmission vehicles may be made available for breaking news and news events at the discretion of the park. Parking locations for these vehicles will be announced to the media via media advisory. No parking will be available for any other vehicles for either breaking news or news events. Vehicles must be attended at all times.
7) Vehicles may not block or intrude on public access or block handicap ramps.
8) In general, overnight parking of media vehicles is not permitted on park property. The Office of Communications must give permission if overnight parking is deemed necessary, and USPP must be informed. Vehicles must be attended at all times.
9) For large scale events, the park reserves the right to require media outlets to make pooling arrangements at least two weeks prior to the scheduled event.
B) The following apply to all news media activities:
1) All areas must remain open to the public at all times.
2) All cables crossing public walkways must be covered and cannot be draped over any walls.
3) The park reserves the right to disapprove media set-ups that create safety hazards or other impairments.
4) All camera and associated equipment must be portable and self-contained with all stands having rubber tips or matting as a base.
5) All camera and associated equipment must be hand carried/hand carted to shooting locations.
6) Media related activity cannot interfere with public visitation or other permitted activities.
7) The participation of park personnel for commercial purposes must be requested in advance and approved by the Superintendent. The requesting permitee may be billed for overtime costs for park staff.
C) Restricted Areas
CFR restricted areas at memorials are meant to be contemplative sites; therefore media access is limited, unless specifically authorized by the park. Rules for media use of memorials are available by contacting the Office of Communications.
Interviews, standups, tripods and any equipment other than hand-held cameras are prohibited at all times within the 36 CFR 7.96 restricted areas, unless prior approval has been received from the Office of Communications. See restricted areas in the Public Use Limits section of this document.
A) Preservation of Natural, Cultural, and Archeological Resources. Climbing trees, hanging items including swings and hammocks in trees, or cutting or collecting wood in the park is prohibited. Gathering or possessing natural products such as fruit, nuts, blossoms or plants in the park is prohibited. The Vietnam Women's, Martin Luther King, Jr., Vietnam Veterans, and the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorials are designed with the intent of allowing visitors to lightly touch the statuary located at each memorial. Therefore, this activity is allowed unless such activity impacts park resources or values, creates an unsafe or unhealthy environment, or unreasonably interferes with the commemorative atmosphere of the memorial. These statues are not designed to be climbed on.
B) Wildlife Protection. Viewing wildlife with artificial light is prohibited.
1) Fires are only permitted in East Potomac Park in personally provided grills.
2) It is prohibited to extinguish charcoal fires by spreading on any ground surface or dumping in any body of water. It is the responsibility of the user to remove all fire by-products from the park.
D) Skating, Skateboards and Similar Devices. 36 CFR 2.20 generally prohibits the use of roller skates/blades, skateboards (motorized and non-motorized), coasting vehicles (motorized and non-motorized), and similar devices which includes portable ramps and similar items used to perform tricks. These items are permitted, however are limited to roadways and sidewalks outside of the memorials. They are strictly prohibited from all memorials, steps, walls, or other site furnishings.
Smoking is prohibited in the following areas:
1) In all government buildings, including memorials and monuments, and within 25 feet of any exit or entrance.
2) Within the 36 CFR 7.96 restricted areas.
3) Within 500 feet of any fuel storage dispensing facility.
4) This prohibition includes electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS)
F) Disorderly Conduct. Public urination and defecation are prohibited.
G) Alcoholic Beverages and Controlled Substances. The use, sale, or possession of alcoholic beverages is prohibited in all areas of the park except in designated areas of approved concessions contracted by the government and assigned by the superintendent or within limited and clearly designated areas if authorized under a specific permit issued by the superintendent.
H) Memorialization. The scattering of human and pet ashes from cremation is prohibited throughout the park.
A) Vessel Operations. The use of park shoreline and structures for the landing of boats, jet skis, canoes, kayaks, or similar devices is prohibited except for non-motorized vessels which are allowed at the East Potomac Park Day Dock (EPPDD) and except for commercial activities authorized under a Concession Contract, CUA or other Agreement.
B) Swimming and Wading. Generally, 36 CFR 7.96 prohibits bathing, swimming and wading in all park fountains, memorial pools, and other bodies of water, except for the purpose of saving a drowning person.
1) Wading and walking are allowed at the German-American Friendship Garden.
Pursuant to 36 CFR 4.21(b), and with the exceptions listed below, the speed limit throughout the boundaries of the National Mall and Memorial Parks is 25 MPH, which has been determined to be reasonable, safe and consistent with the purposes for which the park was established:
A) 15 MPH
1) Jefferson Drive
2) Madison Drive
B) 30 MPH
1) Independence Avenue (between 23rd Street and 15th Street)
Last updated: September 2, 2021