2 creatures could cause Rock Creek Park closure to become permanent

If you've been enjoying the extended closure of Beach Drive through Rock Creek Park, you have two creatures to thank for it.

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One is the northern long-eared bat, which is listed as threatened, and the other is the endangered Hay's Spring amphipod, a tiny shrimp-like crustacean that only lives in the park.

The National Park Service says they need a little more time to study environmental impacts before making a decision on whether Beach Drive should ever reopen to vehicle traffic.

Portions of the road have been closed since April 2020. The pandemic had just started, people were working from home more and more and the NPS wanted to give people more space to social distance during outdoor recreation.

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That's when the regular weekend and holiday closure was extended to seven days a week. Many patrons FOX 5 spoke with said they'd like the closure to be permanent.

NPS says pre-pandemic, up to 8,000 vehicles used Beach Drive to get between Maryland and D.C. With more people back to work and school, the closure is pushing some traffic onto neighborhood streets.


NPS says extending the closure until the day after Labor Day will allow more summer recreation while the proposal for permanent closure is still being studied.