Fort Totten Park closure extends weeks after discovery of confirmed World War I-era munitions

Part of Fort Totten Park in D.C. is still closed, weeks after the discovery of metal canisters that turned out to be two World War I-era military munitions.

A park employee found the canisters in a mound of soil on April 18. They were later found to be military munitions from WWI in an assessment by the U.S. Army.

“No trespassing” signs were installed around the closed area on Monday.

Soon, fencing and barriers will be put up around the area “until further testing can be completed,” the National Park Service said in a news release. Some unofficial trails in the woods are also closed.

Most of the park is open for recreation, but NPS said visitors should stick to the Metropolitan Branch Trail and near the fort itself.

The closure includes areas east of Fort Totten Drive, south of Gallatin Street/Metropolitan Branch Trail and north of Brookland Avenue NE/Farragut Street.

NPS said the decision to keep part of the park closed is out of “an abundance of caution” while they continue to investigate the discovery.

“Public safety is the NPS’s highest priority. The NPS is working with the U.S. Army to investigate the area and determine next step,” the agency said in the news release.

It’s not the first time a discovery like this has been made at the park.

In 2020, the National Park Service discovered another World War I-era metal canister on the ground in a different area of the park. NPS said the Defense Department determined the munition was an “unfused and unused, empty canister”; its source is unknown.

Jessica Kronzer

Jessica Kronzer graduated from James Madison University in May 2021 after studying media and politics. She enjoys covering politics, advocacy and compelling human-interest stories.

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