DC's Norton wants sledding permitted on grounds of US Capitol

WASHINGTON - A D.C. leader wants sledding allowed on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol.

Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton wants to overturn the ban on sledding on hills on the Capitol grounds when it snow.

Norton said the current ban was unenforced for years until recently.

"Left to enforce the ban for no good reason, some U.S. Capitol Police turned away families invoking security," Norton wrote.

She said that because of high-residential density in D.C., the Capitol grounds offer one of the few places to sled in the city.

Below is a copy of Norton's letter:

February 24, 2015

The Honorable Frank J. Larkin
U.S. Sergeant at Arms
Chair, Capitol Police Board
U.S. Capitol, Room S-151
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Mr. Larkin:

Sledding on U.S. Capitol Grounds is one of the oldest traditions in the nation's capital. Although I understand that sledding has been banned for years, what I do not understand is why the U.S. Capitol Police have recently decided to enforce this Scrooge-like ban. Because the Capitol Police Board issues the regulations, I am reaching out directly to the Board to request that sledding be permitted on U.S. Capitol Grounds.

The District of Columbia received enough snowfall to bring out sledding children and their parents last week. Left to enforce the ban for no good reason, some U.S. Capitol Police turned away families invoking security. Because of high-residential density, there are few places to sled in the city, and the grounds of the U.S. Capitol – the Hill – provide a perfect sledding venue. The sledding ban appears to be arbitrary. There is so little snow here that there will not be frequent sledding and, therefore, no significant damage to Capitol Grounds. Moreover, the public is not barred from walking or playing games on the grounds. I understand that there may be reasonable limits placed on sledding, but an absolute ban on sledding in the little snow the District has on the grounds of the People's House and the Senate is unseemly and unnecessary.

Americans should be able to sled on "America's front lawn." I am asking that the Capitol Police Board remove the ban on sledding from Capitol Police Regulations. Please respond concerning your review of this issue within 30 days.


Eleanor Holmes Norton