UPDATE: The National Park Service extended the comment period for volleyball fees at West Potomac Park through April 27.
For years, participating in a game of volleyball right across from the Lincoln Memorial has been free, but a new policy in place means you'll have to pay to play.
“I'm very frustrated about this new policy,” said Javier Fernandez, who has played volleyball on the courts in West Potomac Park for a decade.
Now he and hundreds of other players will have to pay a $30, non-refundable fee online for two hours of play and reserve a court.
“I don't think the National Park Service intended to create a problem for us,” Fernandez said. “I think it was an innocent thing on their part.”
The new rule allows organized volleyball leagues to reserve one of the 11 sand pit courts.
“What the new fee does, it gives us a steady stream of revenue for upkeep and maintenance of the courts,” said Mike Litterst of the National Park Service. “One hundred percent of the funds that come from these registration fees go right back into the courts to repair and place nets.”
Local volleyball players say they’ve maintained the courts for 30 years after pickup games.
They plan to meet with the National Park Service and they have started a Change.org campaign to try to reverse the new rule.