Jack’s Boathouse Will Close, Owner Says


“At some point, you can’t fight the Feds,” said Jack’s Boathouse owner Paul Simkin. “We [Jack’s Boathouse] will not be there. We know when we’ve been beaten.”

Simkin responded to the Georgetowner, concerning the March 28 United States Court for the District of Columbia decision to dismiss Jack’s Boathouse case in which it claimed that the National Park Service did not have jurisdiction over the land where the boathouse sits. Jack’s Boathouse has been fighting its removal from the Potomac River shore at 3500 K St., NW, since December. The decision seriously damaged Simkin’s legal challenge to the NPS eviction.

Nevertheless, Simkin seemed at peace with his own decision to withdraw from the fight and praised the new boat rental company that will work at the old Jack’s site. He also claimed a certain moral victory.

“Our objective was to stay there and keep working for another 70 years,” Simkin said. “If that were not possible, we intended to keep out the big corporate operators as well as a big collegiate boathouse. Neither will come to pass because of our fight, our supporters and the visibility of the assorted shenanigans.”

On March 4, the NPS awarded B&G Outdoor Recreation of Boston the contract to operate on the site of Jack’s Boathouse.

“For me, the next best solution is that the new folks coming have a philosophy like ours,” Simkin said. “If the boathouse space cannot be under our leadership, I cannot think of a better fit for Georgetown than B&G. They are good people and love the water, and we ask our supporters and customers to support them. B&G has assured me that it will hire all of Jack’s former employees. And that makes me rest easier.”

Jack’s Boathouse has been renting canoe and kayaks since 1945 when it was opened by Jack Baxter, a former police officer.

“You win some,” Simkin said. “You lose some. In the end, we believe we have come out ahead.”

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