The most venerable name in Potomac paddling has been retired: Jack’s Boathouse has, after 68 years of operation, been renamed Key Bridge Boathouse.
The name change follows a dispute over whether Jack’s had a proper lease to do business on National Park Service property. The Park Service served the owner, Paul Simkin, with eviction papers in December. Despite attempts to reverse the decision, Simkin gave up following an adverse court ruling last month.
The new operator is Boston Outdoor Recreation, which won a concession contract from the Park Service this year. In a statement, Rock Creek Park Superintendent Tara Morrison said boathouse patrons can expect “the same or similar services offered as before.” A boathouse employee who answered the phone Thursday morning said the new management acquired the boats from Jack’s, and many Jack’s employees have been rehired.
There is one change frequent boathouse visitors may notice: Instead of charging per person as Jack’s did, the new ownership is charging by boat. According to rates posted on the new Key Bridge Boathouse Web site, rates are similar to or lower than Jack’s rates in most circumstances.
For instance, a kayak ride that was previously $14 per person per hour is now $15 per hour for a one-person kayak and $20 per hour for a two-person kayak. Two-person canoe rides should generally be cheaper: $25 per hour per canoe versus the old $14 per person per hour rate.