What park officials said was likely a record number of Memorial Day visitors jammed the area's parks this weekend, forcing some to temporarily close their gates, park officials reported yesterday.
"There were people everywhere," said Darrell Winslow, executive director of the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority, which runs 14 parks in the Washington suburbs. About 50,000 people visited its parks Monday, about twice the usual number, Winslow said.
"We were just overflowing all over the place," said Tony Janda, chief of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission.
There were about 10,000 people at Bull Run Regional Park on the Fairfax-Prince William county border, well above the usual 2,000 to 3,000 who appear on a spring weekend. The 150-site campground ran out of room for the first time ever, Wilson said.
Gates at Pohick Bay Regional Park near Lorton were shut to traffic for about an hour Monday afternoon because of a capacity crowd, park officials said. Public golf courses in the area also were filled throughout the day.
Temperatures in the 80s also brought about 9,000 swimmers to Northern Virginia's public pools, well above the usual 3,000 to 4,000, the park authority official said.
The pools at Pohick Bay, Algonkian and Upton Hill parks had to be closed to additional swimmers after lunch Monday because of standing-room-only crowds. Swimmers were let in those pools on a "one-in, one-out" basis, a spokesman said.
Winslow also said the 30-mile trail in the Washington and Old Dominion Railroad Regional Park was "completely filled." The area's seven public boat launching ramps reported three times the normal business, he said.
The National Park Service also reported large crowds at the nearly 50,000 acres it oversees in the metro area. Especially popular were the Virginia and Maryland parks at Great Falls, where record crowds were reported, said Earle Kittleman, a National Park Service Spokesman.
Both parks were shut to additional traffic Saturday and Sunday about 1:30 p.m. Kittleman did not have crowd estimates for the Maryland side, but he said about 6,000 people jammed the Virginia shore on Sunday and Monday.
Kittleman also said Hains Point at East Potomac Park in the District had to be barricaded to additional traffic at Sunday and Monday afternoons.
He estimated that half a million people visited the Mall during the weekend. The Vietnam Memorial drew 210,000 people; the Jefferson Memorial, 48,000; the Lincoln Memorial, 127,000, and the Washington Monument, 17,000, he said.
At the Seneca Creek State Park near Gaithersburg, parking lots were shut to additional traffic at noon on Sunday and Monday, said David Hathway, chief of operations for the Maryland Forest, Park and Wildlife Service.
Janda did not have crowd estimates, but he said the Cabin John Regional Park was full, and that the parking lots at Wheaton Regional Park and Lake Needwood, in Rock Creek Park, had to be closed to additional traffic Sunday afternoon.