Rules and Regulations

CHAPTER I: Purpose, Authority, Enforcement

Section 1. Purpose

The Commission has a responsibility to establish Regulations to provide for the safe and peaceful use of Commission Property and parks by the public; for the educational and recreational benefit and enjoyment of the public; and for the protection and preservation of the property, facilities and natural resources of the Commission.

Section 2. Authority

A. Article 28, Section 5-113 of the Annotated Code of Maryland authorizes these Regulations and the posting of specific regulations at appropriate sites.

B. The Commission authorizes the Director (as defined in II A below) to promulgate special rules necessary and appropriate to administer these Regulations. Such rules must be in writing and may be obtained from the Department of Parks and the Planning Department of Montgomery County or the Parks and Recreation Department of Prince George’s County.

C. Additional rules and regulations may apply at a specific facility or program. In the event such a rule or regulation issued for purposes of a specific facility or program conflicts with any applicable rule and regulation set forth herein, the rule or regulation provided herein shall be deemed to control.

Section 3. Violations and Penalties

A. Participant violations of the Code of Conduct set forth among the provisions of Chapter V of these Regulations will result in action by Commission Staff which may include, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Verbal warning
  • Notification of Parent/Guardian/Next of Kin
  • Suspension from Commission programs, activities and facilities
  • Liability for any damage to the property or facilities of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission or the property and facilities of others resulting from acts of the participant, either solely or in concert with others
  • Civil Citations/Traffic Citations
  • Criminal prosecution under the laws of the State of Maryland

B. Any person violating the provisions of these Regulations may be issued a civil citation and, upon conviction, be punished by a fine not to exceed $50.00 for the first offense, or $100.00 for the second or further offenses. Any person violating any Federal, State, County or local law or ordinance in force and applicable to Park Property, shall upon conviction thereof, be punished in accordance with the applicable penalty provisions of the law or ordinance (see Art. 28, Sec. 5-113(b)(3)).

CHAPTER II: Definitions

Section I. Definitions

A. Director: The Director of the Department of Parks and the Planning Department in Montgomery County and the Director of Parks and Recreation in Prince George’s County are the officials responsible for implementation and administration of Commission regulations on a regional basis for Park Property.

B. Park Property, Commission Property: Any land or water, devoted to park or recreation uses and owned, operated or established by the Commission, and all vegetation or natural substances, buildings, fixtures, monuments, structures and their contents located on Commission land or water.

C. Public Bicycle Area: any highway, bike path, or other facility or area maintained by the State of Maryland, a political subdivision, or the Commission for the use of bicycles.

D. Bus:

(1) a motor vehicle designed to carry more than ten passengers; or
(2) any other motor vehicle that is designed and used to carry people for compensation.

E. Permit: written permission and/or an official form issued by the Director or designee.

F. Sexual Harassment includes, but is not limited to, the following: verbal or physical sexual advances, including pressure for sexual activity; unwelcome sexually motivated comments, touching, pinching, patting or intentional brushing against; verbal harassment or abuse; and remarks or gestures of a sexual nature.

G. Administrative Areas: Property dedicated to the Commission’s administrative functions and activities, such as buildings used for administrative activities, maintenance yards, police stations, as well as the sidewalks and the parking lots abutting those areas.

CHAPTER III: Regulation of Public Use

Section 1. Use by the General Public

Park Property and park and recreation programs are open to use by all members of the public regardless of race, gender, age, national origin, color, creed, disability, sexual orientation or impairment.

Section 2. Hours of Operation

A. Except for Commission employees or persons accompanied by Commission employees, no person shall be on Commission or Park Property from sunset to sunrise unless that facility is officially open for public use.

B. Any Park Property may be closed by the Director to the public entirely or for certain uses. Such closing shall be posted in advance when possible for public notice.

C. Commission facilities or programs are subject to holiday schedules.

Section 3. Permits

A. Permits are required for:

(1) The reserved use of athletic fields, recreation buildings, camping and group picnic areas and certain other facilities as designated.
(2) Solicitation of contributions, signatures, or moneys.
(3) Conducting a parade, procession or rally. Conducting an assembly or rally using amplification equipment (also referred to as amplified speech).
(4) Conducting surveys, interviews or polls.
(5) Still photography, celluloid, or digital video filming for commercial purposes.
(6) Bus parking.
(7) Certain picnic shelters.
(8) Conducting any form of commercial speech. Commercial speech is defined as speech that promotes a product or service for profit or any other commercial purpose.
(9) Other activities and uses indicated as requiring a permit in Chapters V and VI of these Regulations.
(10) Teaching or instruction for hire.
(11) Notwithstanding any lease or other written agreement existing between a third-party and the Commission, any activity on Park Property not expressly authorized under the terms of such lease or agreement shall require a permit as provided in these Regulations.

B. Procedure for permits:

(1) Permit applications may be obtained from the Park Permit Offices of the Departments or other designated locations for use of facilities or activities in the appropriate County.
(2) The permit shall be issued within a reasonable length of time following receipt of the application, all required fees and deposits, and all information requested by the Director, or the applicant shall be furnished a written statement indicating the reasons why the permit has been denied. In the event that a permit is denied, the applicant may apply to a court of record, having jurisdiction over the parties, within ten days of denial of permit, to obtain judicial review of such restriction and denial.

C. Permits are issued subject to these conditions:

(1) Payment of all applicable fees and deposits;
(2) Permits may be issued for a single time use, seasonally, or on an indefinite time basis for regional parks, athletic fields, recreation centers or community buildings.
(3) Permits will be issued upon a determination by the Director or his/her designee that the facilities or activity areas applied for are available and appropriate for the purpose specified in the permit, and that the proposed use or activity is consistent with the size, location and available amenities of the relevant park property and with public health, safety and welfare. The Director may deny a permit if the request is inconsistent with maintaining the open, unspoiled, natural condition of the parks.
(4) The application may be granted and the permit may be issued unless one or more of the following facts is found to exist:

a. That one or more of the statements in the application is not true.
b. When the applicant or any agent or representative of the applicant who will participate under the permit has previously violated any portion of the Regulations of the Commission, or has violated any of the terms and provisions of any prior permit.
c. When the permit seeks use of all or part of an administrative area.

(5) Permits are issued subject to:

a. All regulations presently in effect, as though inserted as part of the terms of the permit.
b. Revocation at any time for violation of any provision of the permit.
c. Liability for any damage, injury or loss sustained by persons or property as a result of permittee’s negligence or that of any member of that group.

(6) The permit must be in the possession of the permittee and shown upon request.
(7) The activities referred to shall be conducted strictly in conformance with the terms and conditions of the permit issued by the Director.
(8) In conducting permitted activities no person shall:

a. In any way obstruct, delay or interfere with the free movements of any other person, seek to coerce or physically disturb any other person, or hamper or impede the conduct of any authorized business or activity on any Commission property.

b. Conduct any activities in a misleading or fraudulent manner.

(9) Whenever rallies, demonstrations, pageants, ceremonies and entertainments are to be held on park property, special regulations as to the parking of vehicles and positions and movements of spectators may be promulgated by the Director. All persons within the area of such special regulations must obey or comply with the lawful orders of the Park Police or other authorized persons engaged in maintaining order.
(10) A fee may be assessed to defray the cost of conducting certain events. Additionally, for a special event, the permitees assume personal liability for the costs of cleanup of the premises; loss, breakage or removal of park property, and for the conduct and good order of the group.

D. Permit Rules and Conditions

(1) Violation of a rule or condition of a permit will be cause for immediate revocation of the permit, loss of all privileges of the permit, and forfeiture of any deposits and or fees paid for the permit.
(2) Persons holding a permit for use of a site or facility will be entitled to exclusive use of the site or facility for the purposes specified in the permit on the dates and between the hours specified in the permit. On the dates and between the hours specified in the permit, persons holding a permit may, if otherwise permitted by law, limit the use of the site or the facility more strictly than the limits imposed by these regulations. Persons not holding a permit and using that site or facility must vacate that site or facility upon the arrival of a permit holder.

E. Permits are not required for unamplified speech, distributing non-commercial literature or small informal gatherings.

CHAPTER IV: Regulation of Traffic

Section 1. Enforcement

All applicable laws and regulations shall be observed when operating a motorized vehicle on Park Property. Any traffic direction from any Park Police Officer or person authorized to enforce traffic laws on Park Property shall supersede written or posted laws and regulations.

Section 2. Speed Limit

No person shall operate any motorized vehicle in excess of twenty-five (25) miles per hour, unless the speed limit is otherwise posted or directed.

Section 3. Permissible Roadways

No person shall operate any motorized vehicle on Commission Property on a road or street to which public access is prohibited. No person shall operate a motorized vehicle on Commission Property while off designated roads or streets.

Section 4. Trucks over One Ton, Commercial Vehicles, Buses

Trucks, commercial vehicles (excluding taxicabs and tow trucks on service calls to disabled vehicles on Commission Property) with commercial marking or tools of trade and buses shall not be operated on Park Property except by special permit.

Section 5. Parking Regulations

A. No person may stop, stand or park a motor vehicle on Commission Property:

(1) in front of a public driveway;
(2) within an intersection;
(3) within twenty (20) feet of, or so as to obstruct, a crosswalk; or within 20 feet of an intersection;
(4) on a bridge;
(5) any place an official sign prohibits, or regulates, stopping, standing, parking, or the manner of parking in general;
(6) on the traveled portion of a roadway or public driveway;
(7) on, or obstructing the entrance to, any bicycle path, hiker path, bridle path, or access road;
(8) so as to obstruct another vehicle or traffic;
(9) so as to occupy more than one parking space or park across painted parking lines;
(10) during those hours when Commission Property is not open to the public as defined in Chapter III, Section 2A, of these Regulations;
(11) on any grass area, unless specifically allowed, or so as to injure any tree, shrub, plant, or vegetation;
(12) in a fire lane;
(13) on Commission Property other than that designated for vehicular parking;
(14) within fifteen (15) feet of a fire hydrant; within thirty (30) feet of the approach to any traffic control device located at the side of a roadway or at an intersection; and
(15) in parking spaces which are designated for use only by persons with disabilities unless such vehicles display a special registration plate, a removable windshield placard, or a temporary removable windshield placard allowing such parking which is issued by Motor Vehicle Administration of Maryland or similarly by another state, the District of Columbia, or another country.

B. Any vehicle which is to be stopped or parked adjacent to any roadway must be removed from the traveled portion of the roadway and stopped or parked in the direction of authorized traffic movement, with left wheels parallel to and within thirty-six (36) inches of the right edge or boundary of the roadway.

C. No bus shall park in a regional or local park except by permit and shall be parked in a designated area.

Section 6. Impoundment of Illegally Parked Vehicles

Any illegally parked vehicles may be removed and/or impounded by the Park Police at the owner’s expense. After proper notification to the last known registered owner and each secured party, those vehicles may be destroyed if not claimed, pursuant to the provisions of the Maryland Vehicle Laws.

CHAPTER V: Regulation of General Conduct and Personal Behavior (Code of Conduct)

Section 1. Policy

The Commission is committed to providing the citizen’s of Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties with quality park and recreational opportunities in a safe, healthy and enjoyable environment. To fulfill this commitment, the provisions contained in Chapter V are hereby established as the “Code of Conduct” which shall apply to the use of Comission Property. The Code simply requires that participants in Commission programs, with or without a reasonable accommodation, must conduct themselves in a rational and reasonable manner, in accordance with the rules and regulations established by the Commission.

Section 2. Regulations

A. No person shall violate any regulation posted for the operation of an individual Commission facility.

B. No person or permit holder shall violate any rule or condition on a permit.

Section 3. Alcohol/Tobacco, Controlled Substances

Possession, use or distribution of alcohol (except by special permit); illegal drugs or controlled dangerous substances are prohibited. Smoking is prohibited in areas in which notice is posted.

Section 4. Indecent Conduct

A. Urinating or defecating on Commission property other than in the places officially provided is prohibited.

B. No person shall engage in the act of sexual intercourse or other sexual act or indecent or obscene acts or sexual harassment on Commission property.

Section 5. Obstructing Entrances, Exits, Sidewalks

No person(s) shall congregate or assemble in or about any public structure on Commission Property in such a manner as to hinder or obstruct the proper use thereof.

Section 6. Employees: Interference with Duties and Programs

A. No person may interfere with any Commission employee acting in the course of his or her official duties.

B. No person may disrupt or obstruct participation in a Commission program, activity or at a Commission facility.

Section 7. Unauthorized Presence

A person requested to leave Commission Property by authorized personnel must do so immediately.

Section 8. Destruction of Park Property

No person may deface, destroy, injure, misuse, or remove any Commission Property.

Section 9. Littering, Dumping and Storage

A. No person may deposit, leave, or spill refuse or other substances on Commission Property other than in receptacles provided for this purpose.

B. No person may deposit refuse from private premises in Commission trash receptacles. C. No person may store material of any description on Park Property except by written authorization from the Director.

C. No person may store material of any description on Park Property except by written authorizationfrom the Director.

Section 10. Posting Notices, Carrying Signs and Picketing

Attaching or posting of notices, signs, or any other objects on Commission Property is prohibited except by permit. Carrying signs or picketing on Commission Property is prohibited except by permit.

Section 11. Erecting Structures

Enclosure of any area or erection of any structures on Commission Property is prohibited unless authorized by permit.

Section 12. Commercial Use

Solicitation of any business, trade or occupation is strictly prohibited unless authorized by permit. This includes conducting class instruction for a fee and the taking of photographs and/or videos for commercial use.

Section 13. Audio Devices and Noise

No person may play an audio device or create excessive noise so as to disturb the peace.

Section 14. Automobile Service

No person may service any automobile on Park Property. Prohibited activities include washing, repairing, or performing other work, except in case of an emergency.

Section 15. Powered Model Airplanes and Rockets

No powered model airplanes or rockets shall be flown or launched from any park area except on officially designated areas or by permit.

Section 16. Fireworks and Explosives

No person may possess and or discharge any fireworks or other explosive pyrotechnics on Park Property, except by special permit.

Section 17. Weapons

No person shall carry or possess or discharge a bow and arrow, dart, firearm, knife with a blade of more than three (3) inches in length, or other dangerous weapon on Park Property except where permitted in designated areas. This provision does not apply to law enforcement officers and persons with legal permits.

Section 18. Gambling

No person may engage in gaming or gambling for money or any other thing in any form on Commission Property except by written permission from the Director for charitable purposes.

Section 19. Metal Detectors, Digging

Using metal detectors and/or digging into the surface of Park Property is prohibited except by permit.

Section 20. Domesticated Animals

A. No animal may be brought upon Park Property unless it is on a leash, and is at all times entirely within the control of the person bringing it upon Park Property.

B. Persons bringing any animal upon Park Property are responsible for immediate cleanup and removal of the animal’s defecation.

C. The grazing of any animal is prohibited except in those areas under lease for such purpose.

D. Persons may not abandon domestic animals on Commission Property.

E. Domestic animals are not permitted at any time in certain posted areas of Park Property.

F. Domestic animals trespassing on Park Property may be impounded and shall be treated in accordance with applicable State and County statutes.

Section 21. Wildlife, Plants, Fossils, Minerals

A. No person shall catch, injure, destroy or interfere in any way with any wildlife, plants, fossils, or minerals, except as provided in Chapter VI, Section 7, Fishing, and Section 10, Hunting/Trapping.

B. Animals may not be released on Park Property without permission.

C. Planting vegetation or causing vegetation to be planted on Commission Property is prohibited except by permit.

D. No person may cut or saw any live or dead trees or their parts, with any type of equipment, power or otherwise, on Commission Property, or remove any live or dead trees from Commission Property except by permission from Park Management.

Section 22. Lost and Found Objects

Lost objects found on Commission Property must be turned over to the Park Police and may be recovered by proper identification at Park Police Headquarters. Lost objects will be held by the Park Police for three (3) months.

Section 23. Intended Use of Park Property

Use of Park Property for other than intended purposes is prohibited without prior authorization.

CHAPTER VI: Regulation of Recreational Activities

The following activities are restricted to designated areas.

Section 1. Aeronautical Activities

Aeronautical activities are permitted pursuant to airport regulations. Airplanes, helium/hot air balloons, hang gliders, parachutes, ultra-light planes, or any other person operated aircraft shall not be flown or launched from any Commission Property except in officially designated areas by permit.

Section 2. Athletics

Persons holding a permit for use of an athletic field are entitled to exclusive use of such areas on the dates and between the hours specified in the permit, however, exercising the privilege of play may be prohibited if wet grounds or other unsuitable conditions will cause damage to the field as determined within the discretion of the Director or his or her designee.

Section 3. Bicycling

Bicycle riding is permitted only on roads or trails designated for that purpose and is prohibited on tennis courts, athletic fields and other areas not designated for bicycle use. Bicycle riding is subject to the following requirements:

A. Bicyclists must yield to pedestrians and equestrians along the trail.

B. Use of any unauthorized motorized vehicle and equestrians on the trail is prohibited.

C. Bicycles shall not be operated at a speed greater than reasonable and prudent for existing conditions.

D. No person shall operate any bicycle in excess of twenty-five (25) miles per hour, unless the speed limit is otherwise posted or directed.

E. Bicycle trail users shall yield to vehicular traffic at intersecting roadways.

F. Bicyclists and hikers shall keep right except to pass and bicyclists must alert other trail users before passing.

G. Bicycle trails are considered to be “Public Bicycle Areas” and as such are subject to regulations in the Maryland Vehicle Code.

H. Bicycle helmet laws are enforced on Commission Property.

Section 4. Boating

A. No boat or other watercraft is allowed on lakes, streams, ponds, or river banks on Commission Property except by permit.

B. Manually or electrically powered privately-owned boats or other watercraft are allowed by permit on designated Commission lakes.

C. Operators and occupants of permitted watercraft will comply with all Commission, Local, State, and Federal regulations governing the use and operation of watercraft.

Section 5. Camping

Camping is permitted only in designated areas and requires payment of a fee and possession of a permit.

Section 6. Fires

A. Fires are permitted only on public campgrounds and picnic areas, but are restricted to established fireplaces constructed for this purpose, and privately owned grills or stoves.

B. Before leaving the site, persons who have made fires shall wet the hot coals until they are thoroughly soaked and cold and shall dispose of the coals in steel receptacles marked “COALS ONLY,” if available, or shall remove the coals from Commission Property.

C. Building of fires may be prohibited or limited by the Director or his/her deisgnee when a fire hazard exists.

Section 7. Fishing

Fishing is permitted only in designated areas and in compliance with Maryland State Angler’s license requirements.

Section 8. Golf

Playing or practicing golf is not permitted except at golf courses.

Section 9. Horseback Riding

Horses are permitted only in designated or established areas and trails.

Section 10. Hunting/Trapping

A. Trapping is permitted on Park Property for scientific and animal control purposes and requires a Commission permit.

B. Hunting is permitted only in areas designated for hunting and must comply with Federal and/or Maryland State licensing requirements.

Section 11. Picnicking

Picnicking is permitted only in designated picnic areas. Picnic areas not requiring a permit are operated on a “first come, first served” basis.

Section 12. Roller Skating/Roller Blading/In-line Skating and Skateboards

Roller skating, roller blading, in-line skating, and skateboarding are permitted only in areas designated for such use. Skateboarding is prohibited on hiker/biker trails.

Section 13. Swimming, Water Sports

Swimming and other water sports are permitted only in areas designated for such use.

Section 14. Winter Sports

Ice skating, sledding, skiing, snowboarding and snowmobiling or tobogganing are permitted on Park Property only where authorized by posted notice and only in accordance with special regulations on the posted notice.

Section 15. Amusement/Play Equipment

The temporary construction and/or use of amusement play equipment such as moon bounces, carousels, dunk tank, ball crawls, pony rides, etc., is prohibited except by special permits.

Last Updated: December 16, 2016