After receiving extensive comments from the public, the Gettysburg National Military Park has indicated it will begin enforcing its existing ban on competitive events, including cycle and running races, on park roads.
The news is a blow to local nonprofits that have used the park to hold charitable events for many years.
The rule is part of the Superintendent’s Compendium — a summary of park specific rules implemented under Title 36 Code of Federal Regulations (36 CFR).
The park service said the number of requests for competitive events had increased over the years and that there were five in 2019, with new requests coming each year. The park said the determination was not based on the amount of resources needed to manage the events but on “cumulative impacts of multiple organized, competitive recreational events on park resources, visitor experience, and visitor safety.”
The park service said it had received 230 public responses about the proposed changes and in the end decided to maintain and enforce its existing ban.
The park said it considers organized competitive races to be inappropriate uses of park roads but that organized, non-competitive recreational events, such as non-competitive bike rides, will still be allowed.
The park service said it would work with the community to support organized, competitive recreational events on state and local roadways that pass through the park and along park boundaries.
The full Response to Public Comment document can be found on the park website at https://www.nps.gov/gett/learn/management/pc_may_21.htm.
In another change to the compendium, starting May 15 the park will be open from 30 minutes before sunrise until 30 minutes after sunset year long. This marks a change from past policies in which the park was open for specified hours.
The park service said the revised definition will allow park visitors to continue to engage in traditional activities such as watching sunsets, photography, and recreational activities after work while at the same time achieving the park goals of protecting park resources and visitor safety.