Pursuant to 36 CFR § 1.5(a)(1) the National Mall and Memorial Parks is implementing temporary closures of National Park Service public facilities, parking areas and roadways in response to credible threats to visitors and park resources. Groups involved in the January 6, 2021 riots at the US Capitol continue to threaten to disrupt the 59th presidential inauguration on January 20, 2021. This includes the set up and execution of inaugural events, which occur in several park areas. In response, the National Park Service will suspend tours of the Washington Monument beginning January 11, 2021 through January 24, 2021 and may institute temporary closures of public access to roadways, parking areas and restrooms within the National Mall and Memorial Parks if conditions warrant, to protect public safety and park resources. These temporary closures may be extended if the conditions persist. The National Park Service will reopen areas as it determines that the conditions of concern are no longer present.
Limits on athletic activity and temporary closures to public access to Ford’s Theatre National Historic Site, Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument, and Old Post Office Tower are already in effect in response to the pandemic, and are described in a separate Record of Determination dated November 23, 2020.
These temporary closures are based upon a determination, in consultation with the local authorities, that such actions are necessary for the maintenance of public health and safety. These temporary closures will begin January 11, 2021 and will remain in effect through January 24, 2021, but may be extended if conditions persist.
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 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).
Pursuant to 36 CFR § 1.5(c), 1.7, notice of these temporary and partial closures will be made through roadway gates and the posting of signs at conspicuous locations in the affected park area. Finally, pursuant to 36 CFR § 1.5(c), this determination is available to the public upon request.
Jeffrey P. Reinbold
Superintendent, National Mall and Memorial Parks
January 20, 2021
Last updated: January 11, 2021