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Contact: Mike Litterst, 202-245-4676
WASHINGTON - In an effort to provide clarity to First Amendment demonstrations and special event permit regulations, the National Park Service (NPS) is seeking public comment on proposed revisions to Title 36 of the Code of Federal Regulations, section 7.96 for the National Mall, President’s Park and other national parks in the Washington, D.C. area. The modifications would maintain opportunities for people to hold special events and exercise their right to demonstrate while outlining clear parameters that protect the iconic landmarks, views and grounds for use and enjoyment of citizens and visitors from around the globe.
“From the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to the Ellipse —D.C.’s national parks have always served as a stage for groups wanting their voices heard. The role the National Park Service plays in facilitating these groups’ First Amendment rights—regardless of their views—is not something we take lightly,” said acting National Capital Regional Director Lisa Mendelson-Ielmini. “These proposed changes would provide much needed clarity to regulations while ensuring those unalienable rights remain. They will also ensure that iconic viewsheds are left unobstructed for the millions of people who visit every year to experience them. We have a great opportunity to improve the ways we make these special places accessible while preserving them for future generations. We encourage everyone to review the proposal and share their thoughts.”
The National Mall and President’s Park are regarded as premier civic and symbolic spaces in our nation and the volume and complexity of permit requests has increased dramatically over the years. Each year, the NPS issues an average of 750 permits for First Amendment demonstrations and an additional 1,500 permits for special events in and around D.C. More individuals and groups seek to use these iconic locations for demonstrations or events such as concerts and festivals. As the use of these areas increases, the NPS is looking for more efficient ways to serve the public while at the same time protecting the resources that others seek to enjoy. For example, this rule would provide more information to permit applicants about the status of their requests and simplify maximum permit duration periods.
The rule would identify areas that are best suited for the placement of structures such as art installations and concert stages. This would provide permit applicants with more certainty about where their event can take place while protecting iconic viewsheds, such as the view from the White House to the Thomas Jefferson Memorial, and places of solemn contemplation, such as the Freedom Wall Plaza at the World War II Memorial.
Make your voice heard
Through October 15, 2018, the public may comment on the NPS proposal for Title 36 of the Code of Federal Regulations, section 7.96, the federal regulation that governs the permitting of demonstrations and special events in the National Capital Region. The official proposed rule appears in the Federal Register. From https://www.regulations.gov/, search “RIN 1024-AE45”.
Comments must be submitted through official channels during the 60-day comment period:
Comment online at Regulations.gov (preferred method). Search for “RIN 1024-AE45” and click on the "Comment Now" button.
Mail or hand deliver comments to National Park Service, National Mall and Memorial Parks, 900 Ohio Drive SW, Washington, DC 20024, Attn: Brian Joyner.
Comments submitted by email will not be accepted.
Following the public comment period, the NPS will review all comments received and conduct an analysis. The NPS will then determine to either proceed with the proposal and prepare a final rule, issue a new modified proposal, or withdraw the proposal.
View the proposed rule
Proposed Rule - Special Regulations, Areas of the National Park System, National Capital Region, Special Events and Demonstrations
- Preliminary Visual Impact Analysis for the National Mall and Memorial Parks and President’s Park
- Evaluation of Visual Impact Analysis for Temporary Structures on the National Mall: Cultural Landscape Vista and View Preservation
- Cost-Benefit and Regulatory Flexibility Threshold Analyses: Special Regulations, Areas of the National Park System, National Capital Region, Special Events and Demonstrations