Fight the ban of sports on the National Mall!

Step 1 – Sign the official petition!

Sign the Petition Here!
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The National Park Service (NPS) has proposed a ban on all sporting and recreational activity along the National Mall from 3rd to 17th Streets.  The ban includes eliminating currently permitted softball fields around the Washington Monument grounds and the first-come, first-served policy on the plots from 3rd-14th Streets.  The proposed policy is an extreme position and massive change from long standing practice.

Among the NPS-cited concerns, their primary reason offered thus far for the total ban is the perceived impact sports and recreation might have on the recently installed grass turf.  


The total ban is antithetical to the purpose of the Mall.  Through the inception of the National Mall dating back to the L’Enfant plan of 1791 and the redesign by the McMillan Commission of 1901, a main intention of the Mall is to serve area citizens and the city by providing open recreation space. The National Mall represents the vast majority of open grass space in the city and is often cited as a contributing factor to the city’s frequent ranking as a best place to live or fittest communities.

The NPS over the past 2 years has already successfully managed the preservation of the newly installed turf along the Mall by resting sections when necessary and working with local stakeholders.  At its peak recreational sports typically use portions of the Mall merely 4 workdays a week during a 3-4-hour early evening time frame and sparse use of the weekends.  This small time frame represents, at most, a moderate use of the Mall but helps to create a foundation of well being for the city.

The ban would dampen the vibrancy of the City by directly restricting access of tens of thousands of area residents and touching a much larger number of people through its negative impact on health and wellness and the local economy.  Exacerbated by an existing shortage of available play space throughout the city, the NPS ban would further stress the existing limited resources of the city and restrict groups like Congressional Softball, Senate Softball, House Softball, Flag Football, Soccer, Rugby, Ultimate Frisbee, Bocce, Kickball and others that have become a DC institution and part of the fabric of the city.

While maintenance of the turf is certainly a worthy priority we do not believe it should be put above the recreational, health and economic needs and interests of area citizens.  This uniquely Washington DC, and indeed American, Institution must be preserved.

Our Position

Access to 3rd to 17th streets should remain open for sports and recreation as it is vital to the vibrancy and health of the city.

We seek a dialogue with the National Park Service and other stakeholders to solve this impasse of access to the open space between 3rd-17th Streets.  We are ready to collaborate with the NPS to establish best practices that balance the need for recreation while preserving the integrity of the Mall turf.

Fast & Easy Ways to Help

  • Visit to get more info, join our email list and see additional ways to help
  • Email the bolded text above to the email setup for public comments by the local NPS office
  • Sign our petition to support recreation on the National Mall
  • Share this information with your friends and family both across the local area and the country
  • Follow our Facebook and Twitter accounts for updates and ways to support the cause and
  • Share your stories of playing on the National Mall through social media with hashtag #YesMallBall

Want to do more?

Email if you’d like to specifically join our efforts.

We need help with PR, outreach, and messaging to raise awareness of this issue to help rally support as well as strategic outreach to individuals with appropriate oversight of the National Capital Area Park Service.

Want to learn more?

Visit the website for the National Mall Coalition to get additional context and information on public access, use and development of the National Mall.