The Features

Virginia Tourism, NPS, “Art” and Advertising Money

Photo courtesy of

courtesy of ‘Chris Rief aka Spodie Odie’

You may have noticed the sculpture of the word “LOVE” erected in Dupont Circle last week. While it was billed as an art installation, it was actually part of an ad blitz done for the Virginia Tourism campaign, and the Park Service isn’t happy at all about being lied to.  According to Lydia DePillis from the City Paper, the installation was removed with prejudice Friday.

Virginia Tourism took down their blog posting on the takeover, but the press release remains online.

What would an ad like that cost, though? I know you can’t buy ad space in Dupont Circle, as it’s Park Service land and they don’t permit advertising on public land, even in DC, but I did some talking to media buyers today, and came up with some numbers.

Continue reading

The Daily Feed

The Blossoms Are Coming! The Blossoms Are Coming!

Photo courtesy of
courtesy of ‘Ghost_Bear’

I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for this winter to be over. The best signpost of spring around here is the blooming of the cherry trees, and National Park Service Chief Horticulturist Rob DeFeo has finally announced their best estimate as to when we’ll be seeing these beautiful blooms. According to the NPS press conference this morning at the Newseum, we’re looking at an expected “arrival” of April 3-8 for peak coverage. The average peak bloom date is April 4 and is considered the day when 70% of the blossoms of the Yoshino Cherry trees are open. The peak bloom every year varies due to weather and can be as early as March 15 or as late as April 18.

The blooming period usually starts several days before the peak bloom date and can last as long as two weeks, though frost, wind, and high temps can fluctuate that window. The annual National Cherry Blossom Festival is usually timed around the average peak bloom date; this year’s festival will be from March 27 – April 11. There’s still time to volunteer for the festival, so if you’re interested then vist the official NCBF website and sign up today.

The Daily Feed, The Great Outdoors

Theodore Roosevelt Island in Snow


Speaking of unhikable, unbikable paths, commenter Phil noted that Theodore Roosevelt Island trails are still a mess of snow and fallen trees and branches. I got to see that firsthand over the weekend; most of the island is still shin-deep in snow, and the boardwalk remains uncleared of branches and ankle-to-shin deep accumulation, with an unevenly packed path in the middle thanks to occasional daring joggers. Hard to walk, but pretty to look at.

More photos after the jump: Continue reading

The Daily Feed

Trees Down on the Towpath

The C&O Canal Towpath has been closed since last week between 31st and Wisconsin in Georgetown due to huge trees downed by the weight of Snowmageddon 2010. No word on when NPS plans to clean up the mess, so if your jogging route takes you down the C&O anytime soon, you might want to detour down to K or up to M for the time being.

Thanks to palkynetbab for the photos. Bigger pics after the jump. Continue reading

Essential DC, Special Events, The Daily Feed

New Tradition for National Tree Lighting Tickets

Photo courtesy of
‘National Christmas Tree’
courtesy of ‘Murmurmel’

Getting ready to stand in line for tickets for the National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony next week?

Don’t bother. The National Park Service is changing the process, much like they did for the White House Easter Egg Roll, to “open the ticketing process up to more Americans across the country.”

The new procedure? You have to enter an online lottery between November 4-6 (log in here at that time to register), between 12:01 a.m. EST on the 4th and 11:59 p.m. EST on the 6th. The lottery will include 2,800 ticketed seats and 7,000 standing room tickets. (If you don’t have a computer, you can call 877-444-6777 between the same time period to put your name in the lottery.)

Beginning November 9, ticket seekers can check the status of their request online; tickets will be mailed by November 15.

NPS is handing out more tickets this year, hence the change of tradition. The December 3 event will open its gates at 3:30 p.m. for all ticket holders.

The Daily Feed

The C&O, Refilled. The boats… soon.

Photo courtesy of brownpau
C&O Canal, refilled
courtesy of brownpau

Paulo took a shot of what I consider one of the happiest sights of the day: the C&O canal in Georgetown has been refilled.

Also happy news, I called the National Parks Service’s Georgetown visitor center and a representative said that boat tours will resume this Sunday. They happen three times a day, at 11am, 1:30pm and 3pm Wednesdays through Sundays, with the mules that pull the boat taking Monday & Tuesday off. If you’ve never taken one I highly suggest it. The canal is lovely and the tour very informative.

The Daily Feed

Park For Free

Shenandoah N.P. by numbphoto

You have to agree that as much as we love DC, it’s always nice to get out of the city.  Luckily for us there are a lot of national parks in the area that make for great road trip destinations with family and friends (or by yourself if you’re the loner type).  I know one of my favorites to visit in the fall will always be Shenandoah National Park, that is when it’s not swarming with people.

But what about those pesky park entrance fees?  Well, the National Park Service is waiving them for certain parks for three weekends this summer, so dust off those hiking boots, load up your car full of beer and weenies, and get your nature on! Continue reading

The Daily Feed, The Great Outdoors, The Hill

Drained Capitol Reflecting Pool

Heads-up to those of you who were hoping for a nice, relaxing wade in the cool, green, avian botulism-infected waters of the Capitol Reflecting Pool: the National Park Service has drained the Pool till Aug 29th. NPS had considered draining as a quick, immediate protective measure to wildlife — cheaper and faster than installing a water circulation and filtering system, but not quite as aesthetically pleasing. It looks like they went ahead with the draining plan, or perhaps it coincided with what the sign on the fence says is a “routine cleansing.” It’s ugly, but less so, I guess, than piles of duck corpses.


Featured Photo, Talkin' Transit, Technology, The Daily Feed

Plane Trails on DC Cam

I’m a big fan of the National Park Service’s webcams, especially the Washington DC cam viewing the Mall area from the Netherlands Carillon on the GW Parkway. Having a windowless inside office I like to keep this cam (among other outdoor DC cams) open in a separate browser window to provide an outside view through the course of the work day. I’ve also used it for at least one time lapse video.

Checking the cam tonight brought an especially cool treat: a long exposure shot catching a plane making the River Visual approach to landing at National:

Webcam captures plane

Webcam captures plane

(Here’s how that approach looks from a pilot’s perspective aboard a small plane in daylight. More here.)

Update: Oh nice, check out brianmka’s incidental capture of a landing plane at night from right near the same webcam.