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Portions of Park Closed or Limited for Human Health and Safety

Under the authority provided to the Superintendent in 36 CFR 1.5, the follow park areas and facilities located within Washington, DC are closed, effective immediately, until December 31, 2021:

  • Rock Creek Park Nature Center & Planetarium, 5200 Glover Road NW

Restrictions and Public Use Limits: Under the authority provided to the Superintendent in 36 CFR 1.5, the following activities are restricted in Rock Creek Park, effective immediately, until December 31, 2021:

  • Beach Drive NW, closed to motor vehicles from Broad Branch Road NW to Joyce Road NW, from Grove 10 to Wise Road NW, and from West Beach Drive NW to the Maryland boundary.
  • Sherrill Drive NW, closed to motor vehicles
  • Ross Drive NW, closed to motor vehicles

Authority: 36 CFR 1.5(a)(1)-(2)

For more information, view the full Record of Determination.

Temporary Closure of sections of Beach Drive NW and other park roads:

The following facilities are temporarily closed to motor vehicles and open to pedestrians, bicyclists, and non-motorized recreation until December 31, 2021:

  • Beach Drive NW
    • Beach Drive NW, closed to motor vehicles from Broad Branch Road NW to Joyce Road NW, from Grove 10 to Wise Road NW, and from West Beach Drive NW to the Maryland boundary.
  • Sherrill Drive NW, closed to motor vehicles
  • Ross Drive NW, closed to motor vehicles
  • Bingham Drive NW, closed to motro vehicles

For more information view the Record of Determination.

 

Record of Determination for Closure of a Portion of US Reservation 360 for Rehabilitation

On Friday, September 10, 2021, the National Park Service will close a portion of US Reservation 360, bound by M Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW east of 28th Street NW, to address the ongoing resource concerns, and public health and safety concerns associated with a homeless encampment in Rock Creek Park, in an area adjacent to an open-air café and restaurant.

The National Park Service is taking this action because Rock Creek Park managers have received numerous reports from adjacent city residents and business owners that persons from the encampment were urinating and defecating in public on park property in plain view subjecting park visitors, and restaurant patrons, to potential indecent exposure and creating public health concerns.

In addition, on the morning of July 30, 2021, United States Park Police officers responded to the encampment to investigate a reported assault, as well as a threat to public safety and on the evening of July 31, 2021, a significant fire was set within the encampment causing an emergency response from the District of Columbia Fire Department to extinguish it. The area must now be cleared of debris along with items associated with the fire, and the park wishes to ensure that no further park resources damage is incurred, and to ensure the adjacent business and its patrons are unaffected. In each of these instances, persons at the encampment, patrons of the adjacent business, the Georgetown community and patrons of the park were placed at risk of serious life, health, and safety threats. The accumulated human waste, debris from the fire, and other potential combustible trash and debris needs to be removed from the park. Rock Creek Park management has decided to close the park area affected to conduct this remediation and repair activity.

The National Park Service has determined that this park closure is necessary for the protection of human health and safety, protection of nearby private property, as well as the protection of natural and cultural resources. Less restrictive measures will not suffice, as health, safety and resource impacts from the site are continuing. The park area will remain closed until such time that rehabilitation measures have been completed.

Persons currently in the park will be given sufficient notice of the impending closure to remove themselves, and any structures or possessions they have from the park area. Any temporary structures or other items remaining in the park after the closure takes effect will be subject to seizure. The National Park Service will store these items for 60 days at the United States Park Police District 3 Substation located at 5701 Beach Drive NW and then dispose of them, unless claimed by the property owner within the 60-day period. Items determined to be trash ora biohazard will be disposed of as refuse immediately.

This temporary and partial closure is not of a nature, magnitude and duration that will result in a “significant alteration in the public use pattern.” Other nearby park areas will remain open to the public. The closure will not adversely affect the park’s natural, aesthetic, or cultural values; nor require significant modification to the resource management objectives; nor is it of a highly controversial nature. Accordingly, the NPS determines that publication as rulemaking in the Federal Register, is unwarranted per 36 C.F.R. § l.5(c). This is consistent with hundreds of earlier partial and temporary park closures, the legal opinion of the Office of the Solicitor, and judicial adjudications that have upheld other National Park Service closures and public use limitations to include Spiegel v. Babbitt, 855 F. Supp. 402 (D.D.C.1994) affd in part w/o op. 56F. 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. 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, 2000); Picciotto v. Lujan, No. 90-1261 (D.D.C. May 30, 1990); and Picciotto v. Hodel, No. 87-3290 (D.D.C. December 7, 1987).

Pursuant to 36 C.F.R.§ 1.7, notice of this temporary closure will be made through the park’s website and posting of signs at strategic locations in the affected park area. Finally, pursuant to 36 C.F.R. § 1.5(c), this determination is available to the public upon request.

 

Temporary partial closure of Black Horse Trail

Rock Creek Park has contracted the removal of a large log jam that is interfering and diverting the normal flow of the Rock Creek stream. The diverted stream flow is causing serious erosion of the stream bank and undermining trees on the stream bank. On Monday November 1, 2021, the Rock Creek Park’s contractor will close access to the Black Horse Trail on the North side from the Juniper Street feeder trail to West Beech Drive bridge. This closure will be in effect for the duration of the project which is scheduled to completed on or about November 17, 2021. This closure will provide access to the stream, space for the equipment and to allow personnel to work safely to remove logs from the stream.

 

Meridian Hill

Temporary Closure of Meridian Hill Park Lower Level

Rock Creek Park Multi-Use Trail

Rock Creek Park Multi-Use Trail FONSI

Carter Barron Amphitheatre

Carter Barron Amphitheatre Report 2017

General Management Plan

Rock Creek Park GMP Record of Decision

General Management Plan/Environmental Impact Statement Summary Final

General Management Plan/Environmental Impact Statement (complete)

Deer Management

Record of Determination for the Temporary Closure of Certain Park Roads North of Rock Creek and Potomac Parkway for the 2021/2022 Implementation of the Rock Creek Park White-tailed Deer Management Plan

Under the existing Rock Creek Park Superintendent's Compendium, unless otherwise designated, areas administered by Rock Creek Park are closed to all public use from sunset to sunrise, except for vehicular travel on park roads. During the 2021/2022 implementation of the park's approved White-tailed Deer Management Plan Environmental Impact Statement and Record of Decision, Rock Creek Park will temporarily close the park roads noted below to public access and travel under 36 CFR l.5(a)(1) during the time periods detailed below and from November 15, 2021 through March 31, 2022. When implementation occurs, the closures will be designated by posted signage, roadway gates, and law enforcement officer and/or employee direction. Violation of the closure is prohibited.

The temporary closures are for public safety when, as part of the Deer Management Plan, deer reduction actions will occur after dark when the park is normally closed. Other safety measures will also be in place to protect park visitors and neighbors. These include the use of highly trained biologists from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, who will work under the direction of National Park Service resource management specialists and in coordination with the U.S. Park Police and local law enforcement. Implementing the plan is a critical step toward ensuring the forest is able to support native plants and animals in a sustainable manner for this and future generations.

Certain roads, closed to vehicle traffic for rehabilitation, will remain closed. These include:

  • Bingham Drive NW.
Temporary road closures from 5:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m. include:
  • Horse Stable Road NW;
  • Ridge Road NW, from Grant Road NW to Broad Branch Road NW; and
  • Glover Road NW, south of the Rock Creek Park Horse Center.
Temporary road closures from 6:45 p.m. to 4:00 a.m. include:
  • Wise Road NW;
  • Ridge Road NW;
  • Glover Road NW;
  • Grant Road NW;
  • Joyce Road NW;
  • Morrow Drive NW;
  • West Beach Drive NW at Parkside Drive NW;
  • Beach Drive between Joyce Road NW and Picnic Grove 10; and
  • Stage Road NW.
The following roads are currently temporarily closed to motor vehicles. These areas may also close to pedestrians, bicyclists and non-motorized recreation from 6:45 p.m. to 4 a.m.:
  • Beach Drive from Broad Branch Road NW to Joyce Road NW;
  • Beach Drive from Picnic Grove 10 to Wise Road NW;
  • Beach Drive from West Beach Drive NW to the Maryland Boundary;
  • Sherrill Drive NW; and
  • Ross Drive NW.

The temporary closure is not of a nature, magnitude or duration that will result in a "significant alteration in the public use pattern." Other roads will still remain open for vehicle travel. Under the Rock Creek Park Superintendent's Compendium, unless otherwise designated, park land is already closed to all public access from sunset to sunrise, except for vehicular traffic on park roads. Because deer management operations will use park roads, some park roads will need to be closed to help ensure public safety. Although there has been some public controversy regarding deer reduction actions themselves, there is no controversy as to the need for these road closures and other such measures to protect park visitors and neighbors, so these are not closures of a "highly controversial nature." These road closures are also similar to the park's Records of Determination from previous annual implementations of the park's White-tailed Deer Management Plan.

Accordingly, the National Park Service determines publication as rulemaking in the Federal Register is unwarranted under 36 CFR 1.5(b). 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 National Park Service closures and public use limitations to include 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), reportedinfull, 1995 US App. Lexis 15200 (D.C. Cir. May 31, 1995); ANSWER Coalition v. Norton, No. 02-1715 (D.D.C. August 22, 2002), plaintiffs emergency motion for appeal for injunction pending appealed denied Mahoney v. Norton, No. 02-5275 (D.C. Cir. September 9, 2002) (per curium); Picciottov United States, No. 99-2113 (D.D.C. August 6, 2000); Picciottov. Lujan, No. 90-1261 (D.D.C. May 30, 1990); and Picciottov. Hodel, No. 87-3290 (D.D.C. December 7, 1987).

Pursuant to 36 CFR 1.5(c), 1.7, notice of this temporary closure will be made through media advisories, officer and employee directions, roadway gates, and the posting of signs at conspicuous locations in the affected park road areas. Finally, pursuant to 36 CFR 1.5(c), this determination is available to the public upon request.

Deer Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement

Ongoing Projects

NPS Planning, Environment and Public Comment Site (PEPC)

Resource Stewardship Strategy Summary

Other

Curatorial Requirements for Research Permits

 

Contact Information:

Julia Washburn, Superintendent
3545 Williamsburg Lane NW
Washington, DC 20008-1207
202-895-6000

Last updated: November 20, 2021

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

5200 Glover Rd, NW
Washington , DC 20015

Phone:

202 895-6000
Rock Creek Park's main phone line.

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