The sledding ban is officially over on Capitol Hill and district residents have Congress to thank for the fun.
Buried deep in the drifts of the $1.1 trillion spending deal approved last month was a line directing the U.S. Capitol Police to ease up on an official ban and allow the city’s iconic hill to once again serve as a snowy sledding slope.
Lawmakers did say there was something for everyone in the deal.
Last year area parents organized sled-in protests after Capitol Police Board Chairman Frank Larkin announced that after years of turning a blind eye, officers would enforce the ban for “security reasons.”
Larkin said his hands were tied and it would take an act of Congress to grease the skids. District Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton worked with California Democrat Sam Farr to make sure the issue was resolved through the appropriations process.
The legislation instructs the Capitol Police to “forbear enforcement” of a 1963 ban intended to “protect the public property, turf and grass of Capitol Grounds from injury.”
When translated from Congress-speak that means the grounds are again fair game for residents looking for a little fun during the upcoming snowfall.
“All families need to worry about now is picking the best time to go sledding,” Norton said in a statement on Thursday.
But even this act of Congress doesn’t come without caveats and legalese. A statement released by Capitol Police on Thursday warns that officers can still send snowbirds packing if the conditions are too dangerous.
“Please note,” the statement said. “If the conditions are unsafe for the public and/or the Congressional community USCP officers will limit the amount of sledding in the best interest of the public.”