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Reservation system opens June 23 for play starting on July 8
June 22, 2021 - Washington – Following a 15-month closure due to COVID, outdoor athletic fields administered by the National Park Service around the National Mall will reopen for organized and permitted use on Thursday, July 8. Reservations for the 12 mixed use and 12 dedicated softball fields around the National Mall will be available online first-come, first served starting on Wednesday, June 23 at recreation.gov. The first 30 days of athletic field availability (through July 23) will be available at approximately 4 a.m. EST on June 23; additional dates will become available each morning at 10 a.m. EST on a rolling basis.
All softball and mixed-use fields may be reserved seven days a week for one-hour time slots (start times at 7:00 a.m., 8:15 a.m., 9:30 a.m., 10:45 a.m., 12 p.m., 1:15 p.m., 2:30 p.m., 3:45 p.m., 5 p.m., 6:15 p.m., and 7:30 p.m.). Each reservable one-hour field reservation costs $20. Reservations can be made online at recreation.gov (search “National Mall fields”) or by calling 877-444-6777.
The online reservation system replaces the lottery and permit system that was in use through the 2019 season. Already in use at the Hains Point picnic area and the Parkway Drive volleyball courts, the online system modernizes the reservation process, provides up-to-date and transparent field availability, and maximizes recreation opportunities throughout the National Mall. The new reservation system provides 264 reservable and enforceable time slots each day.
More than $660,000 was invested in upgrades to the athletic fields in 2020-21, including replacement of backstops on all softball fields, adding Bermuda grass suitable for cleat use on the Raoul Wallenberg rugby field, upgrading of turf and other field enhancements. The reservation fees will provide a source of revenue for the continued care and upkeep of the fields.
Tournaments and other large-scale sporting events will continue to require a separate permit to conduct a special event in park areas. Individuals wishing to secure a permit for these activities should contact the Division of Permits Management at (202) 245-4715 or e-mail us, and submit an Application for a Permit to Conduct a Demonstration or Special Event in Park Areas (Special Event Permit Application, NPS Form 10-941). Applications for these events are accepted up to one year in advance of the proposed activity.
The National Park Service provides 35 fields for organized athletic play, including softball, volleyball, rugby and cricket spread over 30 acres in East and West Potomac parks, and East Potomac Park is home to a golf course as well as indoor and outdoor tennis courts. The Mall (3rd to 14th streets) are open for events, picnicking and other forms of casual recreation. The National Park Service will monitor other uses of these areas and may close areas because of resource damage of visitor safety concerns.