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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Tour de Jour: The Park Service NOT at FDR

By the Queen of Free

One night last week I went to a walking tour at the FDR Memorial.

It was a free tour, one of the many free things to do which is hosted by the National Park Service. I found it on the Web at "Cultural Tourism DC."

That day I called the National Park Service to make sure someone would show up. After some fumbling around and several questions asked of me about the tour from the Park Service employees, the NPS folks "found" it and said yes, someone would be there to lead it.

It's a long walk from my office to the FDR Memorial, but I certainly needed the exercise. And the information from a Park guide about FDR. I don't know enough about him.

But I wanted someone to show up. That was the reason to go, no?

No one came.

Three of us waited at the appointed hour of 8 p.m. at the beautiful, the crowded (even at night, but it's so spread out and big, who notices the people?) FDR Memorial for the hour's tour. After 15 minutes two of us left to explore the memorial on our own. At 8:25 p.m. I saw the third of our group still waiting on the bench.

The Park Service was certainly apologetic the next day.

Why does it post tours that, seemingly, none of its employees know anything about? Why are tours posted on a Web site which do not happen?

Another tour was scheduled for Friday night for a two hour evening tour of the Mall. Even though a Park Service employee told me someone would show up to lead that one, too, how could one be sure? Was it worth a wait downtown until 7 p.m. to find out? I nixed the possibility.

Yes, it is free; yes, the Park Service is poorly funded, but why promote something that's not going to happen? It creates frustration and unhappiness among those interested, not to mention negative comments on a blog.

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