The National Park Service denied a permit for the race. The official website contains a more complete explanation of the situation.
They have also confirmed this on the official Facebook page.
Disappointing for sure. I'm also wondering what this means about the future of the race. Will NPS deny permits every year? If so, will the race be moved to a different month or will it just fold altogether?
I've been training to peak for this race.
Alternate races here:
Are there similar races in the area around that time frame?
Wonder what was the reason for denial of permit.
I remember hearing last year that the NPS was resistant to granting a "permanent" permit for a Father's Day D.C. triathlon, so WSEM would have to re-apply every year. Apparently there is some general rule that NPS has about not allowing large races downtown between Memorial Day and Labor Day, or something like that. Obviously they made exceptions for the WDC Tri as well as the ITU race a couple years ago.
I don't know why they changed their minds this time. Is there some major event going on this June? Is the NPS ticked off because they were forced to accept Capital Bikeshare on the Mall, so they want to even the score in terms of cycling in D.C.?
Despite their claims that they were always in favor of CaBi, they were adamantly opposed to bike stations on the Mall until it was revealed that NPS had been renewing the no-bid exclusive contract with Tourmobile for decades, in violation of requirements that such contracts had to be awarded through a competitive process. It was only then that the NPS backtracked quickly and tried to cover their butts and became more receptive to bike stations on the Mall. I'm still not sure why there wasn't an investigation into that illegal Tourmobile contract. Sure smells like a lot of cronyism and corruption going on back then.
Maybe I'm being paranoid but maybe this is some sort of payback for the break-up of the Tourmobile arrangement spurred by friends of the owners at NPS.
Shame. I hadn't signed up yet, but was planning on it.
I hope it doesn't signal anything bad for Nation's Tri too.
similar discussion thread and a message from Travis to NTPers
This sucks. This was going to be my big race for the summer. Like everyone here, I'm extremely disappointed and frustrated by this decision.
I'm also perplexed as to why the permit would have been denied. The DC Tri in 2010 & 2011 was a huge success, as was the ITU race in 2009... how could there just now be a problem that is worthy of denying a permit? And how come the Nation's Tri isn't similarly subject to having its permit revoked?
I intend to write the Park Service a letter about this. We need to get this problem fixed for next year. If we had such support behind the 25-50 pool configuration argument, we should have significantly more support for this issue!
BRING BACK THE DC TRIATHLON!!!
(seriously, let's make the t-shirts & bumper stickers now!)
NTP new goal race:
Please see the club's official response to this situation here:
We tried to get this up earlier today before multiple threads began and as the news was becoming public but for various reasons the timing didn't work out.
President, DC Tri
Thanks. While I will be respectful in any comments about NPS, that doesn't mean I won't question their motives. It's frustrating in general for the NPS to exercise so much control over local lands. Unfortunately, they often apply the same mindset to the urban parks and trails in the D.C. area that they do for the vast, rural parks like Yellowstone. They are completely different and should be treated differently. The D.C. NPS areas are located in the middle of a vibrant and densely populated urban metropolis. NPS shouldn't expect those areas to be as uncluttered and natural as the large rural parks.
Given that NPS had made exceptions for three years in a row to the "no races between Memorial Day and Labor Day" rule (counting the ITU race too), I have to wonder what the reason behind that rule is in the first place. What harm is there to the National Mall and nearby parks by having an event at that time? If there is such harm, then why did they break their own rule 3 years in a row?
Their inconsistency on this issue follows on the inconsistency of their statements and actions regarding bikeshare stations on the Mall. In early 2011, they were still claiming that bikeshare would somehow destroy the historic nature of the Mall (while big tour buses and Tourmobile vehicles were a regular presence on the Mall). But just a few months later, they claim that they had always supported the idea of bikeshare on the Mall, and that the reason for the delay was because they wanted to ensure that the bikeshare build-out was done in a responsible manner. I don't buy it, just as I don't understand why they suddenly think it's so important to follow their no summer race rule.
Besides trying to build more support among political, business and community leaders and groups for triathlon, I think it would help to reexamine the extremely powerful role that the NPS plays in the D.C. area, and why. They seem to make arbitrary decisions while having a great deal of power to affect the everyday lives of area triathletes, runners, cyclists, bike commuters and pedestrians. In this situation, bike commuting groups have a shared beef with the NPS and their interference in local matters. I think they are too powerful and have too much control over local lands. I think many of the career officials have the mindset of overseeing wilderness areas like Yellowstone, and don't quite understand that D.C. NPS areas need to be used in a different manner than the rural parks are.
On a positive note, this gave me the motivation I needed to sign-up for the Nat. Harbor 1/2... :-) I couldn't make any of the other "alternative" races they listed and I'm already signed up for Nations.
Hope they figure it out for next year! I keep losing my fav. races - first Brierman and now DC tri.
The Susan G. Komen 5K is slated to be on the National Mall on June 2, 2012. If there is a National Park Service rule of not allowing large races downtown between Memorial Day and Labor Day, I wonder what will happen to this event.
I'm thinking that it will be a lot harder to turn down the Susan G. Komen 5K than it will be for the DC Triathlon.
Washington Business Journal was able to get a statement from NPS. Considering this statment the SGK 5K should also be denied a permit.
"Carol Johnson, spokeswoman for the National Park Service, said the triathlon permit was denied because, "It would be a violation of policy, which doesn't allow foot races in the month of June in preparation for the Fourth of July."
The triathlon had received exemptions from that policy in past years, Johnson said, "but this year it just wasn't possible."
tuan is right nothing will go against the komen race. way too much of a political nightmare for them to cancel that race. lol
The NPS statement doesn't make any sense at all. It does not take 2 1/2 weeks to set up the fireworks. If it did, then how did everyone manage for the last 3 years with the WDC and ITU races? That is no reason at all.
At least the statement clarifies that the NPS policy is no foot races in June and the first week of July, and not the entire summer.
But that still doesn't answer the question of why they denied the permit this year. Even if NPS tried to claim that the race would interfere with set-up for the Smithsonian Folklife Festival/Independence Day (perhaps the 2nd biggest tourist draw after the Cherry Blossom Festival), the race would have taken place one week before the Folklife Festival started. The exhibitors and performers do not set up that early. And again, if there were such a problem, then why was this not a problem for the last 3 years in a row?
The folklife festival is not a foot race and it does not require roads to be shutdown ... just saying :)
Bored at lunch, so I read the Code of Federal Regulations on permitting for the national parks in DC (lawyer fun!). It clearly states that the park manager has veto power over any permit event "in the last three weeks of June and first week of July" in consideration of July 4th celebration set up and break down. In all other cases if an event meets it's (detailed) requirements and is the first permit submitted then it's good to go. Note that the parks department does make an exemption for swimming in the Potomac which is not allowed in the regs.
So why is Komen okay? Easy, no conspiracy, it's on June 2 which is outside the 3 week zone of the regs. Next year Sat June 2, sunday 3 and saturday 9th are outside the 3 week zone (Sunday the 10th is not).
I'd suggest that people write to their local congressional representatives, especially if they are members of the Congressional Bike Caucus. While promoting triathlon isn't a primary goal of the caucus, the members are interested in how government policies affect cycling in general. Triathlon is a part of the larger bike and recreational community.
NPS should not be making up arbitrary rules when it relates to public land, and they should not be applying rules intended for Yellowstone and Yosemite national parks to small urban parks in D.C. I would think that this is something that the members of the Congressional Bike Caucus and many other members of Congress would be interested in.
Local officials may also be interested to hear about the economic cost of the permit denial. Although many of the participants in the race would have been local, many planned to travel from other states and many other countries. These people, their friends and their relatives would have spent a combined total of hundreds of thousands of dollars at local hotels, restaurants, retailers and cultural/entertainment destinations. If there were a legitimate reason for NPS to shut down this revenue flow, then so be it. But the NPS spokeswoman has not listed a good reason for doing so.
You can search through the member list of the Congressional Bike Caucus here:
As I mentioned on the other thread, the Washington Area Bicyclist Association may be another good resource. They also have experience dealing with the NPS on permit issues. They have involved with the noncompetitive Bike DC community ride in May, which runs on area roads, including some under NPS control. WABA also tries to engage NPS on general bike issues, including infrastructure, bike access and policy matters.
Just saw the Folklife festival comment - the regs said the park manager has veto over events that are in the last 2 weeks of June in consideration of the Folklife set up.
Why they said no I have no idea, but he's allowed to. If it's outside of the veto dates the event has to be shown to violate the regs if it's to be denied.
June 16/17 just seems to be the wrong date to have the tri.
dsg, I was going more along the lines of NPS potentially claiming that a triathlon on June 17 would somehow interfere with the set-up of the Folklife Festival. I know it's not a foot race, but it involves a lot of equipment and gear to be set up on the Mall. NPS didn't mention the Festival, as far as I know. But if they did, I'm saying that that wouldn't be a legitimate reason for the permit denial because Festival organizers and participants would have had plenty of time to set up, even if the triathlon had taken place.