Name-wise, the change won’t be super major, but it will be a pretty big deal on a historical level, perhaps even financial. The Washington Post reports that D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton is asking Congress to rename Rock Creek Park to Rock Creek National Park, allowing it to join the ranks of Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon as one of the nation’s national parks. This change could also help Norton when she lobbies for park funding.
Norton first proposed the change in 2015 during the park’s 125th anniversary, but the House Resources Committee never took it up, taking no position on the matter.
In an interview with the Washington Post, Norton said, “Congress needs to understand this is not just a local park.” While she does not believe a new name will necessarily lead to increased funding, she adds that the increased recognition could still benefit her case.
Rock Creek Park was created in 1890, spanning more than 1,700 acres, twice the size of New York’s Central Park. It is the nation’s oldest urban park and the third oldest federal park. Currently, it’s in the “other” category alongside Maryland’s Catoctin Mountain Park and Virginia’s Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts. For more on the history of the park, check out Curbed DC.
• Norton Introduces Bill to Rename Rock Creek Park “Rock Creek National Park” [Eleanor Holmes Norton]
• Rock Creek National Park? Norton wants a new name for nation’s oldest urban park. [The Washington Post]
• Rock Creek Park: A short history [Curbed DC]