Code of the District of Columbia

§ 10–137.01. Authority of the Director of the Department of Parks and Recreation to regulate District parks.

(a) The Council finds that, in order to protect the public health and safety, environmental and scenic values, natural or cultural resources, equitable allocations and use of District park facilities, and to alleviate conflict among park visitors, it is necessary to implement management responsibilities for District parks.

(b) The Director of the Department may:

(1) Establish a reasonable schedule of hours for the operation of parks;

(2) Impose limits, conditions, and restrictions on the public use of parks;

(3) Close all or a portion of a park area to public use or to a specific use or activity; or

(4) Terminate a limit, condition, restriction, or any other decision made pursuant to this subsection.

(c)(1) Except in emergency situations, the Director of the Department shall inform the public of closures, designations, use restrictions or conditions, or the termination or relaxation of such, which is of a nature, magnitude and duration that will result in a significant alteration in the public use pattern of the park area, adversely affect the park’s natural, aesthetic, scenic or cultural values, require a long-term or significant modification in the resource management objectives of the unit, or is of a highly controversial nature, by publishing such changes as rulemaking in the District of Columbia Register and a major Washington, D.C. metropolitan newspaper.

(2) Except in emergency situations, prior to implementing or terminating a restriction, condition, public use limit or closure, the Director of the Department shall prepare a written determination justifying the action. That determination shall set forth the reasons why the restriction, condition, public use limit or closure authorized by subsection (b) of this section has been established, and an explanation of why less restrictive measures will not suffice, or in the case of a termination of a restriction, condition, public use limit or closure previously established under subsection (b) of this section, a determination as to why the restriction is no longer necessary and a finding that the termination will not adversely impact park resources. This determination shall be available to the public upon request.

(d) To implement a public use limit, the Director of the Department may establish a permit, registration, or reservation system. Permits shall be issued in accordance with, or in exception to, the criteria in subsection (b) of this section. Applications for use permits may be sent to the Director of the Department, 30 days in advance of the event, by writing a letter which describes the event including the date, day, starting and ending time of the event, a description of what the event will be, and approximately how many people are expected.

(e) Violating a closure, designation, use or activity restriction or condition, schedule of visiting hours, or public use limit is prohibited. The District of Columbia Metropolitan Police Department may enforce the provisions contained in subsection (b) of this section. Any person violating the provisions of subsection (b) of this section may be punished by a fine of not more than $100 or by imprisonment for not more than 90 days, or both.