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Rehabilitation of the Rock Creek Park Golf Course

Rock Creek Park » Rehabilitation of the Rock Creek Park Golf Course » Document List

Update, June 14, 2024: The National Park Service held a virtual public meeting on June 12, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., about the rehabilitation of the historic Rock Creek Park Golf Course. The meeting featured information about the golf course's more than 100-year history; the project alternatives that were considered; how the NPS and National Links Trust (NLT) incorporated public feedback into the current plan; and the status of the tree removal plan, forest and landscape restoration plans and the driving range lighting plan. Participants were encouraged to submit questions prior to and during the meeting through an electronic form. The presenters answered a portion of these questions within the time that was available for the meeting.

A recording of the meeting is now available at the following link: https://www.nps.gov/media/video/view.htm?id=3CD292C4-1355-493C-B2A8-B56D6A515C30

The National Park Service is working to answer all the questions in writing that were presented at the meeting. Please check back on this site for a posting of the questions and the answers. We appreciate your patience, as this process may take a while.

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Update: April 30, 2024: There are three documents that have been uploaded to this Web site that provide clarification and additional data on the rehabilitation of the golf course. They can be accessed by going to the "Document List" link on the left-hand side of this page. The documents include the following:

- - New: Rock Creek Golf Course Canopy and Meadow Analysis
- - New: ROCR Golf Course Tree Inventory April 2024
- - New: ROCR Golf Course Rehabilitation Full Comments EA PII Removed April 2024

In addition, the National Park Service has created an interactive GIS dashboard that provides graphical presentations of tree canopy removal and other data. This dashboard can be accessed by clicking on the following link:

https://experience.arcgis.com/experience/d4b4a8b451f741ffad9d7daf848540b6



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Update, April 17, 2024: Rehabilitation of Rock Creek Park Golf Course to begin in 2024 

The National Park Service, in cooperation with National Links Trust and the National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC), recently prepared an Environmental Assessment (EA) to evaluate the impacts that would result from the rehabilitation of the Rock Creek Park Golf Course in Washington, D.C. The golf course is set within Rock Creek Park, a unit of the National Park system administered by the NPS.

After completing a review of public comments on the EA - - and following the completion of consultation with tribal governments, the DC Historic Preservation Office, the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service - - the National Park Service has released a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI), selecting Alternative 2 as described on pages 13-27 of the EA.

Implementation of Alternative 2 will improve the course conditions and accessibility, create new facilities for recreation and administration (including space for community partners), and establish two 9-hole courses, with varying degrees of difficulty, that are appealing and accessible to all levels of golfers. These actions will increase playability and broaden course appeal to the local community. The course's maintenance backlog will be addressed through the improvements in the selected alternative including new cart paths, improved water distribution and irrigation system, a new clubhouse, and a new maintenance building. These updates will create an environmentally sustainable course while prioritizing the historic significance and integrity of the original, historic course design.

To download a copy of the FONSI, please click on the "Document List" link on the left-hand side of this page. Once in the "Document List" page, click on the link labeled "Rock Creek Park Golf Course Rehabilitation FONSI 508 Compliant.pdf". If there are questions about the EA process and the FONSI, please contact Rock Creek Park Resources Manager Nick Bartolomeo at nick_bartolomeo@nps.gov.

It is important to note that the NPS selected the alternative after completing a Cultural Landscape Report on the Rock Creek Golf Course (as well as the two other golf courses NPS maintains in Washington, DC) in 2019. Specifically, the report notes the following:

"The historic golf course established in 1920 and nestled within Rock Creek Park will be rehabilitated to preserve prominent golf course architect William Flynn's open, parkland-style. As originally designed, its layout reveals the striking upland topography of Rock Creek Park and appealing distant views that are elsewhere concealed by the dense growth of woodland. This physically challenging course retains much of the integrity of its historic design. Several factors present challenges for the management of the course. Among these are the relatively remote location which is not readily visible from adjacent streets and roads, and the difficulty of the layout due to its steep topography and encroaching woodland vegetation. The existing clubhouse, in the NPS Mission 66 style, was built in the early 1960s and is now insufficient to accommodate expanded functions. Woodlands adjacent to tee boxes, fairways, and greens have in places matured and now constrict the field of play to an impractical extent. The shade and persistent moisture caused by woodland encroachment make it both difficult and costly to cultivate a thriving playing surface."

The Cultural Landscape Report recommends treatments that address these factors and maintain the historic layout of the Rock Creek Park Golf Course. The preferred alternative largely follows these recommendations, while acknowledging that the removal of a substantial number of trees will be needed to achieve playability on the rehabilitated course.

The Cultural Landscape Report, along with a Cultural Landscape Inventory and a Historic Resource Study - - all of which describe the historic importance of the golf course - - can be found at the following links:

- - National Park Service Golf Courses in the District of Columbia East Potomac Park, Langston, and Rock Creek: Treatment Guidelines Cultural Landscape Report:
https://irma.nps.gov/DataStore/Reference/Profile/2264719

- - Links to the Past: A Historic Resource Study of National Park Service Golf Courses in the District of Columbia:
https://irma.nps.gov/DataStore/Reference/Profile/2254682

- - Rock Creek Golf Course: Cultural Landscape Inventory, Rock Creek Park, National Park Service:
https://irma.nps.gov/DataStore/Reference/Profile/2240481

Contact Information

For more information about this project, contact Rock Creek Park Resources Manager Nick Bartolomeo at 202-895-6010, or by email at nick_bartolomeo@nps.gov.