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Community / Public space

Washingtonians are ignoring the ban on sledding at the Capitol building

This week’s heavy snowstorm in Washington DC seems to have brought out the rebels in its residents. This pair went sledding on the west lawn of the Capitol building, despite a 19th century regulation which expressly forbids anyone from treating the grounds like a “playground” – snow or no snow. 

They managed to get a few runs in before the Capitol’s special police force arrived and put a stop to the sledding. The Capitol sits on around 274 acres of land, and the building itself sits at the top of a small hill, which makes it especially enticing to snowsport-lovers. 

The sledders have earned support from high levels of government, however. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton wrote to Frank Larkin, chair of the Capitol Police Board earlier last month, calling for the ban on sledding to be lifted before the expected snowstorm.

In a statement, she said:

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This could be the last snowstorm the D.C. area gets this winter, and may be one of the best for sledding in years.

Children and their parents should able to enjoy sledding on one of the best hills in the city.  This is a one-time waiver that will allow D.C. kids to sled while we await a more formal review of the ban, which will likely come after the last snow has fallen in our region. Have a heart, Mr. Larkin [the chair of the board], a kid’s heart that is.

Unfortunately, Larkin replied that he couldn’t waive the ban, even for a day. Spoilsport.


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