Posts Tagged “National Park Service”
In a preliminary ruling last week, the United States Court for the District of Columbia dismissed Jack’s Boathouse’s case against the D.C. government, in which he claimed that the National Park Service no longer has jurisdiction over the land on which the popular canoe and kayak rental facility sits.
On Jan. 18, the NPS sent out a public notice requesting new tenants after it declined to renew the lease of Jack’s Boathouse in January. Ever since, Jack’s Boathouse’s owner Paul Simkin has been fighting the decision in court. Earlier last month, the NPS selected a winning bidder to take over the site, pending the resolution of the lawsuit.
The court only threw out Jack’s Boathouse’s case against the D.C. government, not the National Park Service, the decision for which will come in a later ruling.
Vox doesn’t quite understand the dense language of the ruling (commenters, lend a hand?), this decision does not bode will for Jack’s Boathouse—a favorite for Georgetown University students.
“[B]ecause [the] Plaintiff lacks constitutional standing with respect to one of its requests for declaratory judgment against the District … the Court shall GRANT the District’s Motion to Dismiss,” the decision read. “The Court shall address the Park Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss by separate order at a later time.”
Presumably, if Simkin lacks constitutional standing for a declaratory judgement with the District, then he also lacks standing to sue the National Park Service as well.
Read the full decision after the jump, courtesy Georgetown Metropolitan!
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The National Park Service has selected a company called B&G Outdoor Recreation to fill the the disputed Georgetown waterfront space currently owned by Jack’s Boathouse, according to a press release.
On Jan. 18, the NPS sent out a public notice requesting new tenants after it declined to renew the lease of Jack’s Boathouse in January. Jack’s is fighting the the NPS in court over claims that the service does not retain jurisdiction the waterfront property anymore.
D.C. still owns the land but transferred authority over to the NPS in 1987 under the condition that there could be no significant amendments to the deed. “There was a 50-page amendment to the deed, and so that is a significant amendment,” said Charles Camp, the legal representative of Paul Simkin, the current owner of Jack’s. “Under the D.C. resolution, I believe the jurisdiction reverted back.” The NPS, however, contends that the license of the company was never formally transferred to Simkin following the death of Jack’s original owner.
Since Simkin believes the NPS had no right to put up the land for auction, he did not put in a bid for the lease.
According to DCist, Simkin said the NPS’s move today violates a court order staying the eviction of Jack’s Boathouse till the end of March. He says he’ll be in court Monday seeking sanctions against the NPS.
B&G Outdoor Recreation, known as “Boating in Boston” operates five boat rental operations in Massachusetts.
Photo: Ryan Sandridge via Flickr
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Jack’s Boathouse, a popular Georgetown canoe and kayak rental establishment that has operated since 1945, is filing a complaint with the United States District Court for the District of Columbia this week to prevent the National Park Service from evicting it on Jan. 31, according to Washington City Paper.
NPS, which has leased the waterfront property to Jack’s Boathouse since October 1973, has not said why it is attempting to evict the business, though it plans to proceed with an open bidding session for the site.
Jack’s owner, Paul Simkin, and his attorney, Charles Camp, claim that the NPS no longer has jurisdiction over the land. The two brought attention to a 1985 D.C. Council resolution, which transferred jurisdiction of the Georgetown waterfront from D.C. to the federal government. They said the resolution specified that the land would return to the city in the case of amendments to a related deed and that two amendments had been made.
A 1987 letter between the NPS and the mayor’s office complicates the situation even further. In the letter, then-mayor Marion Barry and NPS National Capital Regional Director Manus J. Fish. agreed that the land would only revert to D.C. once amendments have been made other than those that are “technical or insubstantial.”
Camp said the letter and the resolution contradict each other and that the wording does not give NPS “blanket authority” over leased properties. However, Peter May, NPS’s associate regional director for the National Capital Region, told City Paper, that he believes the letter makes it clear that the Park Service still retains full authority over the Georgetown waterfront.
Patch reported that Simkin and his attorney brought the issue to the attention of the D.C. Attorney General’s office in the hopes that they would file suit, but the office would not make a public statement or offer an opinion in regards to the issue.
Camp said that they would sue any other business that attempts to operate on the site if NPS awards them the contract.
Voice News will have the full details of the Jack’s Boathouse legal controversy in the print issue Thursday.
Photo: Hilary Nakasone/Georgetown Voice
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Update: Georgetown Patch reported Thursday that the National Park Service has put the eviction on hold for the time being due to public outcry. It remains unclear how long the NPS will continue leasing the waterfront property to the boathouse.
Original Post: The Georgetowner reported late last week that Jack’s Boathouse, the popular canoe and kayak rental establishment on the Potomac River, will lose its lease on Jan. 31 of next year. The National Park Service has been leasing the waterfront property out to Jack’s Boathouse on a monthly basis since October 1973 and has not said why it is evicting the Georgetown landmark, which has operated continuously since 1945.
According to the Washington Post, four years ago, current owner Paul Simkin liquidated about $300,000 of his retirement assets to upgrade and renovate the boathouse. Since then, business has expanded in size to serve 72,000 customers—up from 4,000 a few years ago.
In response to the news of the impending closure, a page on Facebook to save Jack’s Boathouse has cropped up and gathered over 600 likes. The page even includes a petition to the President to halt the closure of the boathouse.
The National Park Service informed Jack’s Boathouse of its decision to terminate its lease by a form letter, according to the Georgetowner:
“The Jack’s Boathouse family is heartbroken that after 70 years on the same location, we are told in a form letter that we must be out by 30 days,” Simkin said. “Hearing this at Christmastime will be a huge blow to our 27 employees at Jack’s Boathouse who are losing their jobs which makes this even harder.”
Simkin told the Post that he plans to sell the business’s 300 boats and lay off its 27 employees. As part of revoking the lease, the owner is responsible for breaking up the dock and removing everything from the property.
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Update, 6:12 p.m.: The body of the deceased individual has been transported from the scene after examination by the medical team. The deceased man’s name is Clark Carvelli, according to an individual who also lives in the woods adjacent to campus. Joseph Cunningham, who has been friends with Carvelli for years, said the deceased had heart and kidney problems and was a survivor of sexual abuse. Cunningham says that the US Park Police has ordered him to cease camping on the Park Service land between Canal Road and University property by tomorrow afternoon.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the deceased, his family and his friends,” University spokesperson Stacy Kerr said.
In an e-mail to the University community, Vice President for University Safety Rocco DelMonaco wrote:
U.S. Park Police and Metropolitan Police Department are currently on Park Service property, near the university off Canal Road. MPD is investigating a deceased male at that location. There does not appear to be any connection between the individual discovered on Park Service property and Georgetown University. Georgetown is cooperating with officials to provide access to the area, which is adjacent to university property. Thank you for your cooperation.
Update, 4:50 p.m.: A medical examination team is now on the scene. More information should be available shortly.
Update, 4:08 p.m.: The victim was male, and was found inside the tent around 2 p.m. According to a law enforcement source, there was no indication of foul play. The cause of death has not yet been determined, but it appears to be hypothermia. Two other people who were in the area of the woods, have been interviewed by police.
Update, 3:42 p.m.: According to University spokeswoman Stacy Kerr, earlier today a Georgetown University facilities worker saw a tent in the woods adjacent to University property near Canal Road. The worker informed DPS, and DPS in turn notified the U.S. Park Police, whose jurisdiction the area falls under.
Vox has yet to get official confirmation of a dead body, but the MPD officer responsible for investigating natural deaths is on the scene.
Original post, 3:23 p.m.: Georgetown Patch is reporting that a dead body has been found near Georgetown University. The body was found near the University’s Canal Road entrance, and police are currently working in the area. Carlos Martinez, an assignment editor for NBC Washington, tweeted that the body was found behind the Georgetown sign at the entrance. Vox is on the scene now, and we’ll have updates as they come.
Photo: Jackson Perry
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After months of planning, the National Park Service has released its final plan for managing the white-tailed deer population of Rock Creek Park. In the park, which includes the parkland west of Georgetown and north of Burleith, ”the population of deer is now so great that it has compromised the ability of native forests to regenerate,” according to the NPS. Lacking predators, deer have proliferated in the park, devouring plant and tree seedlings. The NPS aims to reduce the white-tail population by more than 50 percent.
To remedy the problem, the NPS prefers to first utilize “sharpshooting and capture/euthanasia” to quickly reduce the deer population. After the first period of culling, the Park Service will attempt to employ sterilization as a long-term reproductive control method. If sterilization is not feasible, bow-and-arrow sharpshooting will continue to be the primary option to control the deer population.
“Reducing the deer herd is absolutely necessary in order to maintain Rock Creek Park the way it exists for future generations,” NPS spokesperson Bill Line told WJLA-TV. The resulting deer meat will be donated to food banks in the area.
The plan is expected to be adopted in February, and sharpshooters could begin to cull the population later this year, assuming the NPS receives the necessary funding to change its existing policies. The park’s current deer management policies have included intense monitoring vegetation and deer density, and limited use of repellents to protect rare plants and cultural areas, but they have been unable to reduce the effects of “deer overbrowsing.”
In September, the Voice applauded a similar program in Fairfax County, which has drawn criticism from Fairfax residents and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. Such management programs are ultimately beneficial to both human and deer populations. In some areas of the county there were 400 deer per square mile, vastly exceeding the ratio of 20 deer per square mile considered healthy, according to a statement in the Washington Post by a county wildlife biologist. There are 80 deer per square mile in Rock Creek Park, according to a fall 2011 study.
Image: Mike Licht
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After years of incredibly expensive lobbying, and 18 months after the National Park Service seemed to postpone the project ad infinitum, it appears that the University’s efforts to build a boathouse on the Potomac waterfront are ever so slightly moving forward again.
Although the NPS started the process of creating an Environmental Impact Statement in 2007, it has never been completed. In early 2009, a NPS spokesperson said the statement would be released within approximately five months. In June 2010, the same spokesperson said that “new information” required expanding the EIS study. He said, “I cannot say when the entire process is going to be completed.”
The NPS has now unveiled its plans for a new feasibility study, which will be assembled during next spring and summer following discussions with key stakeholders in the process, including Georgetown. The results of the study will be shared with the public during additional meetings in late summer and early autumn of next year.
In an e-mail to Patch, University spokesperson Stacy Kerr wrote, “We remain committed to constructing a boathouse along the Potomac that will meet the needs of our men’s and women’s crew programs and that is a positive addition to the waterfront.”
Tomorrow night at the Washington Harbour, at 3050 K Street NW Suite 200, from 6-8 p.m. the NPS will be holding an informational meeting and open house to talk about the study and answer questions. There will not be opportunity for public comment, though that is unlikely to stop members of the coalition of the Defenders of Potomac River Parkland from voicing their opinions about the proposed boathouse.
To date, Georgetown has spent over $1 million on lobbying for the boathouse, but it is unclear whether that grand expense actually had any effect. The University’s main lobbyist for the project, the Carmen Group, was only nominally employed by the University for much of 2009 and all of 2010. The group has not filed any disclosure reports for 2011 that indicate it still represents the University’s interests. In 2009, the University’s Office of Federal Relations appeared to be taking over lobbying for the project, but its disclosure reports for 2010 and 2011 do not indicate any substantial lobbying for the boathouse.
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Last night, the National Park Service, Friends of Georgetown Waterfront Park, District of Columbia officials, and about 100 others gathered to celebrate the completion of Georgetown Waterfront Park. The newly completed park, which took $24 million and a couple decades to complete, includes a pergola and a river stair, which allows people to view the river and regattas from the shoreline. And there’s a giant fountain (which children were already playing in).
The first part of the park was completed in 2008, but debris and tons of concrete, which were once the floor of the Capital Traction Co. powerhouse, had to be trucked off the land before construction could continue in 2010.
The ceremony, emceed by Rock Creek Park superintendent Tara Morrision, featured President of Friends of Georgetown Waterfront Park Bob vom Eigen, Ward 2 Councilman Jack Evans, and NPS Regional Director National Capital Region Peggy O’Dell as speakers.
“Look at this place,” said CM Evans. “This is a beautiful place for people from all over the city to enjoy.”
Additionally, Sharon Percy Rockefeller, President and CEO of WETA, wife of Senator John D. Rockefeller IV of West Virginia and daughter of former Senator Charles H. Percy of Illinois, spoke on her father’s behalf. (Sen. Percy is gravely ill at Sibley Hospital and could not attend the event.) Sen. Percy chaired the Georgetown Waterfront Park Commission in the 1990s, which worked alongside the Citizens Association of Georgetown and the National Park Service. A plaque commemorating his service was unveiled by the water’s edge.
ANC Commissioners Ron Lewis, Bill Starrels and Ed Solomon, as well as Georgetown Men’s Head Crew Coach Tony Johnson were in also attendance.
Starrels commented that the new park was “the crowning jewel to the waterfront.”
For more pictures, check out William Newton’s twitter and Patch’s account.
photo: Nico Dodd
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These days, $1,000,000 won’t get you very far—at least not on the shores of the Potomac.
Despite spending seven figures on lobbying efforts aimed to get the National Park Service to approve the construction of a new boathouse in the C&O Canal National Historic Park, the University hasn’t gotten the NPS to budge an inch.
In fact, Georgetown’s dreams of a new boathouse may be slipping further away, according to the Georgetown Current‘s Carol Buckley. In last week’s issue [PDF] of the Current, Buckley reported that “new information” led the NPS to “expand the scope” of its Environmental Impact Study.
The unnamed information is “significant enough to lead to additional public meetings,” according to NPS spokesperson Bill Line, who Buckley interviewed. “I cannot say when the entire process is going to be completed,” Line said.
When coupled with the University’s dwindling payments to the Carmen Group, the lobbying firm hired to push NPS to approve the plan, this new focus on the Environmental Impact Survey suggests that the chances of a new boathouse are slim.
From January to March of 2010, the University paid $5,000 to the Carmen Group, which follows the spending pattern it established in the last half of 2009. So, what did the University get for $5,000?
“No direct contact with the National Park Service, but ongoing consultation[s] with Georgetown with regard to environmental documentation,” according to public disclosure forms.
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Heavy rainfall in March that burst the C & O Canal and contributed to major flooding of the Georgetown Waterfront caused damage that will cost about $2.8 million to repair, WTOP is reporting. The estimate comes from the National Park Service, which did not report where funding for repairs would come from.
Flooding began in mid-March, where locks in the Canal began to fail under pressure from heavy rainfall. The Potomac River rose 3-4 feet in most places during the storms, and 5-10 feet along the Georgetown Waterfront. Old Town Alexandria and sections of the Mount Vernon Bike Trail went underwater, too.
The damage includes a broken lock about a mile upstream of D.C. and the huge amount of mud, silt, and debris that the flooding deposited along the banks of the Potomac.
Via We Love DC
Photo from Flickr user bronpau used under a Creative Commons license
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