NPS Reportedly Postpones Eviction of Jack's Boathouse in Georgetown

NPS received "hundreds" of emails protesting the eviction

Tuesday, Dec 25, 2012  |  Updated 10:21 PM EDT
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The National Park Service has delayed the eviction of a popular business.

The National Park Service has delayed the eviction of a popular business.

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Jack's Boathouse may have gotten a reprieve.

Before Christmas, the long-time kayak-rental business near the Key Bridge received a form letter from the National Park Service saying that its lease was up and that it had to leave its location. However, the Washington Post reported Tuesday that those plans are now on hold.

The Post reported that Park Service Director Jon Jarvis "received hundreds of emails" from fans of the rental company and that he has "directed his staff to hold off on terminating the lease until he's reviewed the situation."

After news of the possible closure broke, a Change.org petition and a Facebook group, Save Jack's Boathouse From Closure, popped up.

The petition has a familiar name behind it: Jesse Rauch is known for beginning a movement that ultimately saved the popular Screen on the Green movie series on the National Mall.

The letter from the Park Service was a shock to the owner of Jack's Boathouse, which employs 27 people.

"We found just a form letter, saying that we were terminated and had to be out in 30 days; everything had to be out in 30 days," owner Paul Simkin told News4's Derrick Ward.

Simkin said he didn't get much explanation from the NPS and notes that the business has been thriving, with 72,000 visitors last summer. The Water Street boathouse rents kayaks, canoes and stand-up paddles, and features a popular, colorfully decorated dock where boaters can socialize before and after their trips.

Jack's Boathouse has been open since 1945, but it's located on land owned by the NPS.

The NPS says the lease is no longer valid but has not explained why. The agency simply said it wants to provide recreational activities as a concession at the site, and that Simkin is free to submit a proposal to operate the concession.

A statement from the NPS reads in part:

The recreational services offered and public access to the Potomac River are important to the NPS and and will be offered as a concession contract. This concession will be announced within a few days through a fair and open process. Mr. Simkin is free to submit a proposal for the opportunity to operate the concession.... The conversion to a concession will be complete by February 1, 2013, and we anticipate no interruption of service at the site.

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