National Park Service Distributes Rules for Occupied McPherson Square

Campers reminded camping is not permitted

Thursday, Oct 27, 2011  |  Updated 6:52 PM EDT
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Occupying Wall Street and Beyond: May Day Protests

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Dozens of personal tents set up in McPherson Square as part of the Occupy DC and Occupy K Street demonstration a few blocks north of the White House. Demonstrators are "interested in separating money from politics and improving the country’s infrastructure to fix health care, education, environment and the economy." (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

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U.S. Park Police and protesters are getting along fine so far at the McPherson Square tent city, but the National Park Service is concerned about keeping things safe and tidy so their guests can continue some good, clean demonstrating.

NPS is posting and distributing rules and regulations at McPherson Square with the hope of keeping the park beautiful.

In particular, NPS wants to protect Gen. McPherson. Demonstrators are asked not to eat or drink at the base of the statue to prevent permanent stains. Nor should anything be attached to the statue or any of the trees and plants in the park.

To protect the grass, temporary structures like tents with flooring should be moved every four days to allow the turf to get sun and water. Last week, the Washington Examiner reported new grass installed earlier this year is already dead and could cost $200,000 to replace.

For safety’s sake, any generator should be surrounded by 3-foot-high fencing. For nature’s sake, they must be on matting of three-quarter inch plywood or other NPS approved material covered by some absorbent material and a tarp to keep fuel off the ground. Drip pans are required under any nozzle, and refueling is limited to between 5 a.m. to 8 a.m. Campers can’t store the fuel at the park.

NPS recommended at least one portable toilet per 300 people and promised to collect trash three times a day.

On Tuesday, more than 100 tents packed the square, the Associated Press reported. Assemblies of 500 or fewer don’t require permits for the square, but cooking and camping -- defined as ”the use of park land for living accommodation purposes such as sleeping activities, or making preparations to sleep (including the laying down of bedding for the purpose of sleeping) or storing personal belongings, or making any fire, or using any tents or shelter or other structure or vehicle for sleeping or doing any digging or earth breaking … “ -- are prohibited, though ongoing.

NPS advised that Park Police is monitoring McPherson Square for compliance with these rules.

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