Image from the Library of Congress
The reservation system opens on June 23 to play from July 8
June 22, 2021 – Washington – After a 15-month closure due to COVID, the National Park Service-administered outdoor athletic fields around the National Mall will reopen for organized and authorized use on Thursday, July 8. 12 dedicated softball fields around the National Mall will be available online, first come, first served starting Wednesday, June 23 at recreation.gov. The first 30 days of sports field availability (until July 23) will be available around 4:00 am EST on June 23; additional dates will be available each morning at 10 a.m. EST on an ongoing basis.
All softball and mixed-use fields can be reserved seven days a week for hourly slots (start times at 7:00 a.m., 8:15 a.m., 9:30 a.m., 10:45 a.m., 12:00 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 reservation in the field of a reservable hour costs $ 20. Reservations can be made online at Recreation.gov (search “fields of the National Mall”) or by calling 877 444-6777.
The online reservation system replaces the lottery and permit system that was in use throughout 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 lot availability, and maximizes recreational opportunities throughout the National Mall. The new reservation system offers 264 bookable and enforceable time slots each day.
Over $ 660,000 has been invested in modernization of athletic fields in 2020-2021, including replacement of safety nets on all softball fields, addition of Bermuda turf suitable for the use of cleats on the Raoul Wallenberg rugby pitch, turf modernization and other improvements to the pitch. The reservation fee will provide a source of income for the on-going care and maintenance of the fields.
Tournaments and other large-scale sporting events will continue to require a separate permit to host a special event in the parks. Those wishing to obtain a permit for these activities should contact the Permit Management Division at (202) 245-4715 or Send us an email, and submit an application for a permit to organize a demonstration or special event in areas of the park (Application for Special Event Permit, form NPS 10-941). Applications for these events are accepted up to one year before the proposed activity.
The National Park Service offers 35 fields for organized sporting 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 shopping center (3rd to 14e streets) are open for events, picnics and other forms of casual recreation. The National Park Service will monitor other uses of these areas and may close areas due to damage to resources and visitor safety concerns.