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Shutdown Has Outsized Impact On D.C. Parks And Playgrounds

Capitol Hill's Lincoln Park is a popular neighborhood hangout, but it has been closed due to the federal government shutdown.
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Capitol Hill's Lincoln Park is a popular neighborhood hangout, but it has been closed due to the federal government shutdown.

The shutdown of the federal government is being felt across the country, but it is having an outsized influence within the boundaries of the District itself.

At the same time that the National Park Service started placing barricades around the Lincoln Memorial this morning, it locked the gates around a playground in Lincoln Park, a popular neighborhood gathering site in Capitol Hill. Why? Because the park—like many others in D.C.—is owned and operated by the federal government.

All told, 6,776 acres of the parks in D.C.—fully 88 percent of the total parkland in the city—are controlled by the federal government. Those parks are big (Rock Creek Park) and small (neighborhood triangle parks and circles); some attract tourists, many only locals. Still, once the federal government ran out of money, it began applying the same shutdown procedures at all D.C. facilities.

Gates on Beach Drive through Rock Creek Park have been closed, access to the Capital Crescent Trail is limited and a popular cycling and running route around Hains Point are closed. The closure at Hains Point has impacted the East Potomac Pool, a D.C. public pool, which will only be accessible by foot during the shutdown.

Park Service officials said that they would post signs at popular local sites like Dupont Circle and Meridian Hill Park indicating that they are closed, despite admitting that there's little they can do to limit access. The National Arboretum is closed, as is the Kenilworth Gardens and Aquatic Park. Fort Reno, along with the other Civil War defenses that remain throughout the city, are also closed.

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