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Jack’s Boathouse eviction plans put on hold

Jack's Boathouse. (Photo by Isaac Brooks)

Plans to evict Jack’s Boathouse, the popular canoe and kayak rental operation on the Potomac River in Georgetown, have been put on hold after the National Park Service received a flood of messages voicing concern.

“In the last 24 hours, I have received hundreds of emails from citizens concerned with the future of Jack’s Boathouse,” National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis said in a statement Monday.

The boathouse, on Park Service land in the shadow of Key Bridge and the Whitehurst Freeway, is part of local tradition.

In a Dec. 18 letter, the Park Service told owner Paul Simkin that his lease would be ended. But Monday night, Jarvis said he had “directed the staff at the park and the Regional Office to withhold further action on the lease termination until I have conducted a thorough review and determined the best course of action.”

Simkin called that “an unbelievable gift.” He said he had just finished a night and day of trying to find jobs for his staff, many of whom have depended on the operation for college expenses or their livelihood.

Supporters had started a Facebook page aimed at saving Jack’s and begun a petition.

On Sunday, the Park Service acknowledged the value of the boathouse’s services and said it would offer those services under a concession. It said Simkin was free to offer a proposal and that it expected no interruption in services.

On Monday, the Park Service again said “the boathouse operation will continue” but did not specify who would run it.

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