Tag Archives: NPS

Skating On The Canal Is Legal

Photo by bwillis.

As the days finally get colder, GM starts to think back to his childhood days skating on a tiny frozen pond behind his friend’s house in Connecticut. (The fact that the pond was only about 25 feet across helps explain why GM never really learned to stop on skates; he hardly had room to start). It was this nostalgia for outdoor skating that led him to wonder: why not build a waterfront rink? GM’s question was answered in the affirmative shortly afterwards when MRP Realty announced plans to bring an ice rink to the Washington Harbour.

But that won’t get built in time for this winter. And what if you want to skate on a natural body of frozen water? Well we’ve already got one of those: the C & O Canal.

While it hasn’t been cold nearly enough for the canal to freeze yet this winter, by late January, February at the latest, it should ice over. And guess what? You are allowed to skate on it if you want. GM just assumed the NPS would prohibit such a fun activity since, lets face it, they can kinda be killjoys. But according to C & O Canal National Historic Park:

It’s that time of year and weather when Park visitors may go ice skating.

The ice skating issue is addressed in the Park’s rules (reprinted in the C&O Canal NHP Volunteer Manual):

“Ice skating is permitted at your own risk park-wide, except where prohibited by signage.” Continue reading

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The Morning Metropolitan

Photo by Daquella Manera.

Good morning Georgetown, here’s the latest:

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Filed under The Morning Metropolitan

Twenty-Four Year Old Plan Still Driving Today’s Debates

This year, the final phase of the Georgetown Waterfront Park was opened. This was the result of decades of efforts by residents, businesses, and government agencies. But what few have talked about is how this accomplishment was merely a part of a larger plan, a plan which is still at the heart of several of today’s debates.

The plan is a plan adopted by the National Park Service, and it lays out 30 actions to improve the Potomac waterfront through Georgetown. A surprising amount of these actions have been accomplished over the years. They include the construction of the park itself, many of the elements of the park, the creation of the Capital Crescent Trail, and the creation of Francis Scott Key Park.

Some elements of the plan that never came to fruition are as alive today as issues as they ever were.

The most contentious part of the plan is the establishment of a boating zone. This zone would allow for the construction of boathouses along the Potomac from 34th St. to about a 100 yards west of the Key Bridge. This has come up most recently due to Georgetown University’s plans to build a massive boathouse in this zone, just west of the Washington Canoe Club. G.U. has spent at least $1 million just lobbying for this project. After a long delay, NPS just announced it was reopening the feasibility review.

What’s funny is to see the plan account for the then-possible plan by Clyde’s to build a floating restaurant:

Under the terms of a 35-year lease signed by the District Government a private firm has docking and parking rights for a 200-seat capacity floating restaurant with space for 86 cars. The floating restaurant will be moored between 34th Street and Key Bridge and will be approximately 200-feet long by 50-feet wide. Once the park is developed, parking for the restaurant will be provided under the freeway (See Item 18). Parking will be located between K Street and the Potomac bulkhead on a short-term basis, but the area will become a landscaped park on completion of Item 18 below. The area designated for boathouse facilities (See Item 14), encompasses the restaurant on the basis that should the lessee not proceed with the restaurant plan, or the restaurant be discontinued, the area would then become available for boating facilities.

The restaurant obviously never came to pass, so this land should go back into the boating zone. However, GM would love to see a hybrid building constructed at the north end of the park providing for boating facilities and a restaurant or outdoor cafe. Continue reading

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NPS Supports Keeping Rose Park Path as Multipurpose

Photo by Csuspect.

As discussed a while back in connection with the possible placement of a Capital Bikeshare station in Rose Park, there has been a long simmering fight in Rose Park over the use of a path that travels from P st. down to M st.

The National Park Service has periodically floated plans to improve the path, widen it and maintain it as a multiuse path (i.e., able to be used by walkers and bikers). The Friends of Rose Park would also like to see the path improved, but doesn’t want it widened, and wants bike riding banned from the park.

NPS has consistently refused to assent to FORP’s requests, both in the plans for the physical design of the path and the allowed uses. But recently Rock Creek Park (which includes Rose Park) came under the control of a new superintendent. With that change, some hoped that NPS would reconsider its stance on the Rose Park path.

Last week, however, NPS issued an environmental impact statement for the long-planned improvements to the path (both in Rose Park and throughout Rock Creek Park). The report comes out in favor of widening the Rose Park path to six feet (it’s currently varies in width from five to six feet). The report rejects the request to simply repave the path at its current width: “Because the existing trail is too narrow, this option was dismissed. Trail users routinely leave the paved trail surface in order to walk side by side or pass other users.” Continue reading

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PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Rickie Fowler Sinks Hole in One at the Waterfront

GM didn’t realize this until it was over, but apparently Red Bull set up a golf-themed promotion at the Washington Harbour last weekend. They invited 2010 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year, Rickie Fowler, to take a shot on the makeshift golf course. Well, it only took one shot, as you can see from the video.

This looks like a great use of the building’s space. It reminds GM that some Georgetowners are trying to organize to bring an ice rink to the same spot. It’s too bad the actual waterfront park can’t have more activities like this. There was an ice rink in the park in the late 90s, when the city leased part of the park. When NPS took the park back over, the ice rink was booted. NPS insists on the waterfront park being a “passive park”. Maybe showy events like a Red Bull-sponsored pitch-and-putt (or, in this case, just “pitch”) would be too much for the park, but bringing back the ice rink in the dead of winter would not threaten the peacefulness of the park.

Speaking of the waterfront park, GM learned last week that the BID is hoping to bring wireless Internet to the park. Neat.

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Montrose Park Birthday Parties Are Getting Out of Hand

Montrose Park is a beautiful park. In GM’s estimation, it’s the nicest urban park in the city. It’s only natural that people like to gather in the park and throw a picnic or a party. GM himself hosted a post-wedding brunch in the park (by-the-by, said brunch was catered by Griffin Market, who did an amazing job. GM heartily recommends their services for your next event).

Montrose Park only has a handful of picnic benches. As a result, when a family wants to host a birthday party there, a parent inevitably has to show up in the morning and “reserve” the table with table cloths and balloons.

This has created a relatively self-policing system. Groups get to host events in a beautiful setting, yet the parties are not so frequent or large as to affect regular users. That unfortunately may be starting to change. Continue reading

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