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.
A couple years ago GM saw his first birthday party in Montrose Park that featured a pony ride. It was shocking that somebody would be so bold. It was sometime after that point that GM saw another birthday party that featured a giant Moon Bounce like this:
Again, it was absolutely shocking that some family thought it was ok to turn a National Park into their own Chucky Cheese.
While shocking, these events seemed so rare as to not be a major problem. Unfortunately GM has noticed two more such parties recently. It seems as if it’s starting to become a “thing”. Not for nothing, but most of the license plates of the last party were out-of-state, which implies that the word is spreading out about the park’s lax anti-Moon Bounce enforcement.
The last party was the most ridiculous yet. On top of the pony rides, the party featured not one, but two llamas:
And see that fenced in area? That’s were they kept the rest of the menagerie, which as GM recalls consisted of a bunch of ducks, a goat or two, and some pigs.
GM called in to NPS’s Rock Creek administrators to see whether people we getting permits to hold these parties. The answer was a laughing no. According to park rules, any party over 20 people requires a permit and the park service employee told GM that they probably wouldn’t approve pony rides and moon bounces anyway.
What do you all think about this? The animals can damage the grass and the moon bounce can outright kill a large patch of it. There’s also something a little off-putting about people commandeering a public park for their child’s super sweet six birthday party.
But on the other hand, the park is big enough that they don’t seem to be bothering other people. And while there have started to occur with a bit more frequency, they’re still far from a weekly occurrence.
It would be unacceptable if these started to happen more often, and maybe we need to put the kibosh on long before we get to that point. But GM is not about to call the cops the next time he sees a horse trailer pull up. First of all, he has no desire to ruin some child’s birthday. Secondly, the Montrose Park dog-walking community definitely doesn’t need the attention of NPS.
So what do you think? Abuse of the park or not that big a deal?