NPS Invites Proposals for Georgetown Boat Rental

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Date: January 18, 2013
Contact: Jennifer Mummart, (202) 619-7174

WASHINGTON - January 18, 2013 - The National Park Service (NPS) today issued a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) to operate a boat rental facility in Rock Creek Park along the Georgetown waterfront. The existing operator, Jack's Boathouse, will be allowed to compete for the contract and remain in place until the contract has been awarded. The NPS is committed to protecting park resources and providing access to outdoor recreation, and a concession contract will ensure that the nation receives fair compensation for commercial ventures inside this national park.

This action follows up on a Christmas Eve commitment made by NPS Director Jonathan B. Jarvis to review a plan that would have terminated Jack's Boathouse's month-to-month lease at the end of January.

"The right thing to do is to get this boat rental operation under a competitively-awarded concession contract, just as we do in other parks," said Jarvis. "Until that contract is in place, we do not need to terminate the existing lease. We are committed to ensuring that visitors to the Georgetown waterfront are able to wet a paddle and get out on the water, that the resources in our care are protected, and that the American people get a fair return for the privilege of operating a business in a national park. The concession contract will do that."

The current operator of Jack's Boathouse may respond to the RFQ.Details on the RFQ are at The deadline to respond is February 6, 2013.The NPS plans to award the contract by the end of February to ensure that boat rental and storage services are in place for the upcoming season.

Jack's Boathouse began operations on a month-to-month lease with the District of Columbia in 1973. In 1982 the monthly rent was raised to $356, which remains unchanged. In 1987, as part of the negotiations for the donation of the land for inclusion in Rock Creek Park, the lease with then-Boathouse owners, Jack and Norma Baxter, was donated to the National Park Foundation.

Jack Baxter passed away in 1999, and the business was run by his son Frank.When Frank died in 2009, the business was taken over by his business partner Paul Simkin.The NPS began working with Mr. Simkin last year to convert the operation to a concession contract, starting with a non-competitive, short-term agreement, but in the process discovered that the lease had never been legally transferred to him, thus necessitating a competitive process to award a contract.

-NPS -

About the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America's 398 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at

The above press release can be viewed as a PDF by clicking here.

The letter to Mr. Simkin, the current operator of Jack's Boathouse, can be viewed as a PDF by clicking here.


Last updated: December 27, 2017

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