Residents of Washington, D.C. have taken a stand – for the right to sled.
As several inches of snow blanketed the nation’s capital, families gathered on Capitol Hill to partake in some winter fun on a day when federal offices were closed due to the storm. But there’s one problem – sledding on the Capitol grounds is banned. In a city where protests are practically a daily occurrence, residents of the district proudly defied the ban.
“I don’t think it’s very fair because the people have a right to sled,” Nicole Rothe told NBC News’ Frank Thorp. “Let the people sled, it’s a fundamental right.”
Ahead of the storm, Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, who represents the District of Columbia, sent a letter Wednesday to U.S. Senate Sergeant at Arms Frank Larkin, asking for the sledding ban to be temporarily lifted.
“This could be the last snowstorm the D.C. area gets this winter, and may be one of the best for sledding in years,” Norton said in a statement accompanying her letter. “Children and their parents should able to enjoy sledding on one of the best hills in the city. This is a one-time waiver that will allow D.C. kids to sled while we await a more formal review of the ban, which will likely come after the last snow has fallen in our region. Have a heart, Mr. Larkin, a kid’s heart that is.”
Despite the plea, Larkin stood firm. “If the forecast holds true, there are many families who will want to enjoy the snow tomorrow,” Larkin said in a statement late Wednesday. “Although, for security reasons, the Capitol grounds are not your typical neighborhood hill or playground. There is a prohibition against sledding and other recreational activities in the Traffic Regulations for the United States Capitol Grounds.” Larkin cited the thousands of sledding injuries that reportedly occur each year in the U.S. and said the Capitol Police Board “will continue to review the regulations and implement updates as necessary.”
Routh added that she was disappointed the ban stoood in place. Sledding is “fun, and it’s basically a regulation against fun,” she told NBC News.
Another sledder called the scene “civil disobedience at its best.”
“I think it’s ludicrous to have rules against sledding,” Tim Krepp told NBC News.