In accordance with regulations and the delegated authority provided in Title 36, Code of Federal Regulations ("36 CFR"), Chapter 1, Parts 1-7, authorized by Title 16 United States Code, Section 3, the following regulatory provisions are established for the proper management, protection, government and public use of those portions of Rock Creek Park and areas administered by Rock Creek Park under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service. Unless otherwise stated, these regulatory provisions apply in addition to the requirements contained in 36 CFR, Chapter 1, Parts 1-7.
I. 36 CFR §1.5 - VISITING HOURS, PUBLIC USE LIMITS, CLOSURES, AND AREA DESIGNATIONS FOR SPECIFIC USE OR ACTIVITIES
(a)(1) The following visiting hours and public use limits are established for all or for the listed portions of the park, and the following closures are established for all or a portion of the park to all public use or to a certain use or activity:
Unless otherwise designated, all park land is open between the hours of sunrise and sunset.
The Rock Creek Park Nature Center and Planetarium is open Wednesday through Sunday, 9 am to 5 pm, and closed on the Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's days.
The Old Stone House is open 12 pm to 5 pm, and closed on the Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's days.
The Peirce Barn/Peirce Mill complex buildings are open:
April 1 - October 31 Wednesday-Sunday 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM except Fourth of July.
November 1 - March 31 Saturday and Sunday 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year days.
Advance group reservations are required for groups of 10 or more.
Carter Barron Amphitheatre is open Memorial Day to Labor Day, day of event only.
Public Use Limits:
Picnic areas numbered 1, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 13, 14 and 24 require a reservation permit and are limited to no more than 75 people. Picnic areas 2, 3, 4, 5, 11, 12, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22 and 23 operate as first-come, first-served, and limited to no more than 25 people. Further picnic regulations listed under (a)(2).
Alcoholic beverages are prohibited from all park areas administered by Rock Creek Park, except authorized concession sales at Carter Barron Amphitheatre, Rock Creek Park Golf Course clubhouse and Rock Creek Tennis Stadium. Justification for alcohol closure in Rock Creek Park attached as appendix A.
Smoking is prohibited in all buildings, offices, historic structures, and stables.
Coolers, scooters, rollerblades, bicycles, glass containers, picnic baskets, pets and cans are prohibited inside Carter Barron Amphitheatre and Rock Creek Tennis Stadium.
Service animals for the disabled are allowed inside Carter Barron Amphitheater and Rock Creek Tennis Stadium when officially assisting a disabled person.
Photography and audio and video recording of events at Carter Barron Amphitheatre and Rock Creek Tennis Stadium are prohibited.
Old Stone House visitor limit is 25 people.
The Peirce Mill visitor limit in the basement and first floor is 25 at each level. All other areas and floors are restricted, and may only be accessed by special request.
Fires permitted only in grills or fireplaces, visitors may bring own grill and fuel in designated picnic areas only.
Parking allowed only in designated parking areas.
Weddings allowed by permit at Meridian Hill Park, Montrose Park, and the garden at the Old Stone House. There is a limit of 50 people; no chairs, balloons or decorations are allowed. Receptions are not allowed. Weddings at the Old Stone House are limited to one per day. See Permit section for contact info.
Washing vehicles within Rock Creek Park is prohibited.
Repair or maintenance of vehicles (other than short-term emergency repairs) by private individuals or commercial businesses within Rock Creek Park is prohibited.
Unless otherwise designated, all park land is closed between the hours of sunset and sunrise except for vehicular traffic on park roads. Buses, commercial vehicles, and trucks over ½ ton are prohibited on park roads unless given specific permission in writing by the Superintendent.
The parks along 16th Street NW, including Meridian Hill Park, are closed midnight to 5:00 am from May through October, and 9:00 pm to 5:00 am November through April.
Sections of Beach Drive, Bingham Drive and Sherrill Drive are closed to motor vehicle traffic on weekends and federal holidays. Sherrill Drive, Bingham Drive, Ross Drive and Morrow Drive are closed to motor vehicle traffic when snow or ice is present.
Carter Barron Amphitheatre parking lot is closed from midnight until 5 am.
The following areas have been designated for a specific use or activity, under the conditions and/or restrictions as noted:
- Docking or Mooring Areas:
Mooring of boats at the dock at Washington Harbour on the Georgetown Waterfront is prohibited between midnight and 6 am, as determined by the Superintendent, Rock Creek Park, dated January 30, 2002, 36 CFR 1.5, consistent with the determination by the Superintendent, C&O Canal NHP, dated June 22, 1998, and the Regional Director's memorandum dated November 20, 1997.
Picnicking is prohibited in Dumbarton Oaks Park, Fort Stevens, and Battleground Cemetery. Picnic areas numbered 1, 6,7,8,9,10,13,14 and 24 require a reservation permit and are limited to no more than 75 people. Picnic areas 2,3,4,5,11,12,15,16,17,18,19,20,21,22 and 23 operate as first-come, first-served, and limited to no more than 25 people. Large group picnics of 25 or more people are not allowed outside of numbered picnic areas unless the Superintendent provides an exception in writing. Informal picnics of fewer than 25 people are allowed in all other lawn areas except for the 4 park areas listed above.
- Bicycle Use Areas/Routes:
Bicycle use is restricted to paved roads and the paved multi-use trails extending from Wise Road to Joyce Road and from Broad Branch Road to Virginia Ave.
The following restrictions and/or conditions are in effect for the specific uses or activities noted:
Dogs must be on leash within park areas, and park visitors must comply with District of Columbia leash laws. Dogs are prohibited from tennis courts and playgrounds.
Camping is prohibited within all park areas.
All park areas are closed to the viewing of wildlife with an artificial light.
All park areas are closed to swimming, wading and bathing by people or household pets
Archery target practice is prohibited.
Canopies, tents or shade structures anchored to the ground, awnings or portable pavilions are prohibited except where written permission is obtained from the Superintendent.
Fishing is prohibited on Rock Creek north of the Porter Street bridge.
Hitchhiking is prohibited within all areas of the park.
Removing or damaging natural or cultural resources is prohibited.
The term "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, drones) that are used for any purpose, including for recreation or commerce. Launching, landing, or operating an unmanned aircraft from or on lands and waters administered by the National Park Service within the boundaries of Rock Creek Park is prohibited except as approved in writing by the Superintendent.
Justification: Rock Creek Park (United States Reservation 339) was founded in 1890 by the U.S. Congress as "a public park or pleasure ground for the benefit and enjoyment of the people of the United States." The founding legislation also noted that the management of Rock Creek Park, which transferred to the National Park Service in 1933, "shall provide for the preservation from injury or spoliation of all timber, animals, or curiosities within said park, and their retention in their natural condition, as nearly as possible." Under NPS Management Policies, the impact of the use of unmanned aircraft over Rock Creek Park on soundscapes, vistas, cultural landscapes, migratory birds, critical migratory bird habitat and other features of the park that must remain in the condition mandated by Congress must be assessed before the park can contemplate their use.
Rock Creek Park currently administers over 3,000 acres in 99 federal reservations stretching across the northwest and northeast quadrants of Washington, DC. Unmanned aircraft use throughout these reservations is prohibited until NPS can make a determination of the security concerns and possible impacts from an unmannedaircraft launched from within Rock Creek Park on areas adjacent to or surrounded by National Park Service land. These include the Federal Aviation Administration's Prohibited Area P-56B, adjacent to Dumbarton Oaks Park, Whitehaven Parkway, Normanstone Parkway, and sections of Rock Creek and Potomac Parkway;the 41 foreign missions thatborder these reservations along Reservation 339, Civil War Defenses of Washington, Whitehaven Parkway, Normanstone Parkway, Rock Creek and Potomac Parkway, Klingle Valley, Melvin Hazen Park, and Glover Archbold Park, among other reservations;the United States Department of Homeland Security Headquarters, which borders Glover Archbold Park and the Civil War Defenses of Washington;Federal Aviation Administration communications facilities, located on Civil War Defenses of Washington land;United States Army Corps of Engineers drinking water processing facilities and reservoirs adjacent to Potomac Palisades;and DC Water reservoir and drinking water processing facilities bounded by Civil War Defenses of Washington land.
The preservation of the reverential and contemplative atmosphere of Battleground National Cemetery, at which 41 Union veterans of the Civil War Battle of Fort Stevens are interred, must also be considered in the assessment of this new use.
Given the requirement under NPS management Policies 2006 that any new use must be assessed for appropriateness and possible impacts, less restrictive measures that would allow any use of an unmanned aircraft will not suffice.
II. 36 CFR §1.6 - ACTIVITIES THAT REQUIRE A PERMIT
NOTE: The term "permit" covers a variety of instruments allowing us to manage activities within Rock Creek Park. The following definitions apply within areas administered by Rock Creek Park:
Permits to reserve sports fields within Rock Creek Park are obtained from the District of Columbia Parks and Recreation Department, 202-673-7646. DC charges an administrative processing fee for these free reservation permits.
Permits to reserve a picnic area are obtained on-line at www.recreation.gov, or by calling 1-877-822-6777. There are fees associated with picnic area reservations.
Permits for first amendment rights demonstrations, special events, or filming within any park area in the National Capitol Region (NCR) are required by 36 CFR to be processed through the NCR Park Programs Division. To obtain an application, contact 202-245-4715. For information on Rock Creek Park areas for these permits, contact the Special Park Uses office at 202-895-6013.
Permits for construction, educational programs (not led by a park ranger) or to use or cross park land are obtained from the Environmental Protection Specialist for Rock Creek Park, 202-895-6000. Permits for rights of way are obtained from the National Capitol Regional Office of the National Park Service, 202-619-7225.
Permits for scientific research and collecting may be obtained through the following process:
a. Contact Rock Creek Park Natural Resources Management Office, 202-895-6077.
b. Apply online: www.science.nature.nps.gov/research.
Reservation permits required for picnic areas 1, 6,7,8,9,10,13,14 and 24, and for use of sports fields. Contact information: on-line at www.recreation.gov for picnic permits or by calling 1-877-822-6777, and by calling 202-767-8363 for sports fields permits.
Special Park Use permits required for construction within park land, to stage equipment, to cross park land with cables or other utilities, or to use park land for access to an adjoining site. Contact Environmental Protection Specialist at 202-895-6000.
The following is a compilation of those activities for which a permit from the Superintendent is required:
§1.5(d) The following activities related to Public Use Limits:
Weddings are allowed by permit at Meridian Hill Park, Montrose Park, and the gardens of Old Stone House, fee charged, contact Special Park Use Office at 202-895-6013. Weddings at the Old Stone House are limited to one per day.
Special events or First Amendment Rights demonstrations of more than 25 people require a free permit from the NCR Park Programs Office, 202-245-4715.
Groups larger than 10 horses and riders need a free permit from the Special Park Uses office, 202-895-6013.
- §2.5(e) Research Specimen collection (Collection of plants, fish, wildlife, rocks or minerals)
- Permits for scientific research can be applied for online, at www.science.nature.nps.gov/research. For more information, contact the Natural Resources Office at 202-895-6077.
- Operation of a public address system in connection with a public gathering or special event for which a permit has been issued pursuant to §7.96(g). Amplified sound is not allowed in picnic areas. Amplified sound as part of special events must operate within decibel limits specified in permit conditions.
- §7.96(g) Conduct a sports event, pageant, regatta, public spectator attraction, entertainment, ceremony, and similar events - apply for a free permit through the NCR Park Programs Office, 202-245-4715.
- §7.96(6) Public assemblies, meetings, gatherings, demonstrations, parades and other public expressions of views - apply for a free permit through the NCR Park Programs Office, 202-245-4715.
- §7.96(k) Sale or distribution of printed matter that is not solely commercial advertising is only allowed as part of a first amendment rights event, and must follow specifications in permit conditions.
- §2.62(b) Memorialization (scattering ashes from human cremation) is not allowed within Rock Creek Park.
- §4.11(a) Exceeding of established vehicle load, weight and size limits. Commercial trucks over ½ ton and busses are prohibited on roadways within Rock Creek Park.
- §5.3 Engaging in or soliciting any business is not allowed within Rock Creek Park except under the provisions of a permit, contract, or written agreement with the National Park Service.
- §5.5(a) Commercial filming of motion pictures or television involving the use of professional casts, settings or crews, other than bona fide newsreel or news television requires a free permit, apply at the NCR Park Programs Office, 202-245-4715.
- (b) Still photography of vehicles, or other articles of commerce or models for the purpose of commercial advertising requires a free permit, apply at the NCR Park Programs Office, 202-245-4715.
- §5.6(b) Commercial vehicles are prohibited on roadways within Rock Creek Park.
III. GENERAL REGULATIONS
36 CFR §2.1 - PRESERVATION OF NATURAL, CULTURAL AND ARCHEOLOGICAL RESOURCES
Standing dead wood or dead wood on the ground may not be collected for use as fuel for campfires or other uses.
No fruits, nuts, berries, seeds, mushrooms or cut greenery may be gathered or collected for personal or business use or consumption in Rock Creek Park.
No artifacts, portions of structures or architectural elements may be collected within the park.
Recreational activities that damage or harm natural, cultural, or archeological resources are prohibited. Examples include geocaching, orienteering, bungee jumping, rock climbing, and riding bicycles off paved surfaces.
2.1 (b) Hiking and pedestrian uses are restricted to designated foot, horse, and paved recreational trails in the park as shown on the map in the park brochure.
36 CFR §2.2 - WILDLIFE PROTECTION
(b) (1) Hunting is not permitted on any park property.
(b) (3) Trapping is not permitted on any park property.
(d) Transporting of lawfully taken wildlife through the park is not permitted.
(e) All park areas are closed to the viewing of wildlife with the use of an artificial light.
36 CFR §2.3 - FISHING
(a) District of Columbia fishing laws and/or regulations apply throughout the park.
Commercial fishing is not allowed within the park. Fishing is not allowed on Rock Creek or its tributaries north of the Porter street bridge on Rock Creek.
36 CFR §2.4 - WEAPONS, TRAPS, AND NETS
A permit is required to possess, carry or use a weapon, trap or net. The Superintendent will only issue a permit to use, carry or possess a weapon, trap, or net under the following circumstances:
(1) When necessary to support approved/permitted research activities.
(2) For employees, agents or cooperating officials - for official duty.
(3) Archery target practice prohibited.
36 CFR §2.11 - PICNICKING
Picnicking is prohibited in Dumbarton Oaks Park, Fort Stevens, and Battleground Cemetery. Picnic areas numbered 1, 6,7,8,9,10,13,14 and 24 require a reservation permit and are limited to no more than 75 people. Picnic areas 2,3,4,5,11,12,15,16,17,18,19,20,21,22 and 23 operate as first-come, first-served, and limited to no more than 25 people. Large group picnics of 25 or more people are not allowed outside of numbered picnic areas unless the Superintendent provides an exception in writing. Informal picnics of less than 25 people are allowed in all areas except for the 4 park areas listed above.
36 CFR 2.13 - FIRES
(a)(1) The lighting or maintaining of fires is generally prohibited, except as provided for in the following designated areas or receptacles, and under the conditions noted:
Designated Areas: Fires allowed within fire grates in established picnic areas.
Receptacles Allowed: Individual grills allowed in established picnic groves. Charcoal must be doused with water and disposed of in a trash can after the fire is completely out.
Established Conditions for Fires: Fires allowed unless high fire danger has been declared and public notice given that fires are banned within the park.
(a)(2) The following restrictions are in effect for the use of stoves or lanterns:
- Charcoal must be doused with water completely and disposed of in a trash receptacle.
(b) Fires must be extinguished according to the following conditions:
- Douse completely with water.
- Firewood may not be collected within the park.
(c) High fire danger closures will be in effect as noted:
- When the Superintendent declares high fire danger and issues a public notice that fires are banned within the park.
36 CFR §2.14 - SANITATION and REFUSE
The use of government refuse receptacles or facilities for dumping household, commercial or industrial refuse, brought as such from private or municipal property is not allowed.
36 CFR §2.15 - PETS
Pets may not be left unattended tied to an object.
Pet excrement must be disposed in accordance with the following conditions:
- Visitors with pets must pick up all pet waste and dispose of it in a trash receptacle.
36 CFR §2.16 - HORSES and PACK ANIMALS
(a) The use of horses or pack animals is permitted on the following trails, routes or areas:
(b) Free-trailing or loose-herding is not permitted on the Rock Creek Park trails or routes.
(c) Other conditions concerning the use of horses or pack animals:
- Horse trailers and tow vehicles must be parked legally in designated parking spaces.
Groups larger than 10 horses and riders need a free permit from the Special Park Uses office, 202-895-6013.
36 CFR §2.19 - WINTER ACTIVITIES
(a) The following park roads and/or parking areas normally open to motor vehicle traffic may be used for skiing, snowshoeing, sledding, tobogganing, and similar winter activities under the conditions noted :
(a) Sections of Beach Drive, Sherrill Drive, Ross Drive, Morrow Drive or Bingham Drive and portions of Glover Road are closed to motor vehicles. (Non-motorized winter activities allowed)
(b) The towing of persons on skis, sled or other similar device by motor vehicle or snowmobile is not allowed .
(c) Skiing, snowshoeing, sledding, tobogganing and similar winter activities are allowed throughout the park unless listed below:
36 CFR §2.20 - SKATING, SKATEBOARDS and SIMILAR DEVICES
The use of roller skates, skateboards, roller skis, coasting vehicles, or similar devices are allowed in the following areas:
- Paved multi-use trails
- Roads closed to motor vehicle traffic on weekends or federal holidays.
36 CFR §2.21 - SMOKING
(a) All buildings, structures and facilities are closed to smoking. Smokers in outside areas must dispose of fully extinguished smoking materials in proper trash containers.
36 CFR §2.22 - PROPERTY
The following describes areas where property may be left unattended for periods longer than 24 hours, and the conditions under which property may be left:
- Property is not allowed to be left unattended for periods longer than 24 hours within Rock Creek Park, unless the property is part of an activity under a special park use permit (for example, a contractor working on construction within the park may receive permission under the permit to store equipment in a staging area.)
36 CFR §2.23 - RECREATION FEES
Recreation fees, in accordance with 36 CFR part 71, are established for the following entrance fee areas, and/or for the use of the following specialized sites, facilities, equipment or services, or for participation in the following group activity, recreation events or specialized recreation uses:
Entrance Fee Areas: Not applicable for Rock Creek Park.
Daily Site Use Fee Areas: Parking at Thompson's Boat House, fee charged through metered spaces.
36 CFR §2.35 -ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES and CONTROLLED SUBSTANCES
(a)(3)(i) The following public use areas, portions of public use areas, and/or public facilities within the park are closed to consumption of alcoholic beverages, and/or to the possession of a bottle, can or other receptacle containing an alcoholic beverage that is open, or has been opened, or whose seal has been broken or the contents of which have been partially removed:
Alcoholic beverages are prohibited from all park areas administered by Rock Creek Park, except Carter Barron Amphitheatre, Rock Creek Park Golf Course clubhouse and Rock Creek Tennis Stadium. Justification for alcohol closure in Rock Creek Park attached as appendix A.
36 CFR §7.96 and Iskon v.Kennedy, 61F.3d949 (D.C. Cir. 1995)- NONCOMMERCIAL SOLICITING
The solicitation or demand for gifts, money, goods or services requires a permit under §.96 and Iskon v.Kennedy, 61F.3d949 (D.C. Cir. 1995), and is subject to the terms and conditions specified therein.
NOTE: This section generally prohibits soliciting or demanding gifts, money goods or services except in accordance with a permit. The term "soliciting" includes asking, begging and non-verbal gestures, such as a hand out or palm up. [48 FR 30271, June 30, 1983]
36 CFR §2.62 - MEMORIALIZATION
(a) Authorization from the Director of the National Park Service is required to install a monument, memorial, tablet, structure, or other commemorative installation in a park area.
(b) The scattering of ashes from cremated human remains is not allowed within Rock Creek Park.
36 CFR §3.6 - BOATING OPERATIONS
- (h) Launching boats is prohibited within Rock Creek Park unless water levels are at least 2 feet deep. Boats are not allowed to go over Peirce Mill Dam under any conditions. Canoes, kayaks or other similar human powered boats are allowed.
(l) Vessels must meet the following size, length or width restrictions:
- Must be less than 20 feet in length, motors not allowed.
- Hand launch only
36 CFR §3.21 - SWIMMING AND BATHING
All Rock Creek Park areas are closed to swimming, bathing and wading by people and pets.
36 CFR §4.10 - TRAVEL ON PARK ROADS AND ROUTES
(a) Park roads, open for travel by motor vehicle are those indicated in the following publication: Rock Creek Park brochure.
(b) Off-road vehicle travel is not allowed.
36 CFR §4.11 - VEHICLE LOAD, WEIGHT AND SIZE LIMITS
(a) The following load, weight and size limits, which are more restrictive than State law, apply to the roads indicated under the terms and conditions, and/or under permit as noted:
- Buses and large trucks over ½ ton are not allowed on park roads.
36 CFR §4.21 - SPEED LIMITS
(b) The following speed limits are established for the routes/roads indicated:
- Speed limit is 25 mph on all park roads unless otherwise posted.
36 CFR §4.30 - BICYCLES
(a) Bicycle use is permitted on park roads, parking areas, and on the following designated paved routes:
- Multi-use paved recreational trails
- Sections of park roads closed to motor vehicle traffic on weekends and federal holidays.
(b) The following routes are closed to bicycle use:
- All unpaved trails.
- Off-trail or off road areas.
(c) Riding a bicycle abreast of another rider is prohibited.
Bicycles must be operated at speeds reasonable for existing conditions. Speed should not exceed 15 mph on paved multi-user trails or 25 mph on paved roadways.
36 CFR §4.31 - HITCHHIKING
Hitchhiking is not permitted.