Congressional delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) toured nine federally funded parks in the District on Oct. 5 in an effort to draw attention to the need for federal support for National Park Service parks in the city.

After delivering brief remarks in Anacostia Park, Norton proceeded to tour parks around the city, beginning at the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site before moving to other sites including Fort DuPont Park and Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens in Northeast D.C., as well as several parks on Capitol Hill, including Stanton, Folger and Lincoln parks. She also visited the site of the Carter G. Woodson Home, which is being restored because of a bill introduced in Congress by Norton.

After a similar tour last year, Norton released a report highlighting the needed repairs and improvements for the District’s parks. The report, “Arresting the Deterioration in the Valuable National Park Service Neighborhood Parks in the District of Columbia,” highlighted the underfunding of parks that are meant to conserve natural and historic scenery.

“In terms of the parks in the District of Columbia, these are some of the most visited anywhere in the nation. We’re well aware that many Washingtonians who live here think and believe that some of the parks, including the Nation Mall, need to look better than they do,” said William Line, communications officer for the National Capital Regional Office of the NPS.

Nevertheless, NPS parks, such as President’s Park and the White House Grounds, and Rock Creek Park, have been received favorably – earning as high as 98 percent satisfaction ratings by visitors.

Prospects for improving the District’s NPS parks are good. Early this year, Norton secured $135 million in appropriations as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 to improve local parks.

According to Line, the NPS is preparing to draft a management plan that would decide the future of the National Mall.

“I love running around the National Mall and along Rock Creek – it beats the elliptical machines at Yates,” said Kristin Ng (COL ’11), president of the Georgetown chapter of Eco-Action. “A lot of these parks are a major draw for tourists and they’re great to get people to go outside, which is important not only for health reasons but to encourage and remind people to reconnect with nature.”

Have a reaction to this article? Write a letter to the editor.

Comments are closed.