This month in the Interpretation Education and Partnerships Division we have been busy collaborating with the C&O Canal Trust in preparation for upcoming volunteer events. We would like to invite you to come and demonstrate your pride for the C&O Canal. Join us for the following Canal Pride Days events: Saturday, April 5: Take control of litter! Over 20 sites along the C&O will participate in the Potomac River Watershed Cleanup. To find a site near you and sign up, please visit www.PotomacCleanup.org. Saturday, April 26: Help ring in the Canal Pride season at Great Falls! Projects will include preserving historic buildings, improving the grounds, planting trees, and painting buildings, benches, picnic tables and more at the Historic Great Falls Tavern. Saturday, May 3: Show your Canal Pride at Williamsport by cleaning and painting exhibits, fixing potholes, repairing trails, and more! Saturday, May 10: Revitalize one of the C&O Canal’s most picturesque campgrounds at Fifteenmile Creek (Little Orleans) by cleaning and replacing grills, painting picnic tables, and maintaining trails! Click to here to sign up for a Canal Pride Day event near you.
This spring both the Mercer in Great Falls and Williamsport boat launches will be operating! The Mercer will be opening (weather and water conditions permitting) the first week of April. The Williamsport boat launch will be running from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day. The visitor centers will be on the same schedule as always with the exception of Hancock and Georgetown. The Hancock and Georgetown VC’s will be closed this season until funding can become available. Great Falls and Williamsport VCs will be open Wed-Sun 9am to 430pm. The Cumberland VC will continue to be open seven days a week. Starting on March 31st it will be open 9am to 5 pm.
In the Maintenance Division plans are being made to repair and resurface towpath in the Monocacy District. Over 5000 tons of towpath material will be used to surface towpath in order to fill in the ruts and give you a pleasant park experience. Work begins in March. Please stay clear of the immediate work area and obey posted signs for your safety and thank our maintenance workers for their efforts.
The following are official press releases submitted recently by the office of the superintendent:
C&O Canal Big Slackwater Bridge Replacement
Williamsport, MD. – The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park (C&O Canal) is pleased to announce the replacement of the Big Slackwater Bridge serving the Big Slackwater Boat Ramp. The bridge superstructure and deck will be replaced to improve the bridge’s load rating. C&O Canal staff will be working with The Federal Highway Administration and their contractor to remove and replace the bridge over the next 60 days. The road leading to the Big Slackwater Boat Ramp will be closed at the Dam 4 parking lot. Only official traffic will be allowed beyond the park gate.
The park and towpath will remain open during construction. The park is asking the public to stay clear of the immediate work area and obey all posted signs for their safety. The construction is expected to be complete in time for the spring boating season.
Repairs slated to begin on towpath near Cumberland
Cumberland MD. – The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park (C&O Canal) is pleased to announce that repairs to the towpath just upstream of Evitts Creek Aqueduct near Mile Post 181.2 will begin in February. A large washout that has threatened towpath continuity for some time will be repaired by CSX Corporation. CSX’s construction contractor will be working closely with C&O Canal staff to ensure the safety of park visitors as they make repairs. The temporary pedestrian bridge that has spanned the washed out towpath for so many years will be removed.
While the park and towpath will remain open in this area during construction, visitors should expect to experience delays, possibly up to 15 minutes. The park is asking the public to stay clear of the immediate work area and obey all posted signs for their safety. The construction is expected to take approximately 8 weeks to complete.
CSX to perform work near Lock 74
Cumberland MD. – CSX Corporation will be replacing the railroad bridge crossing the Potomac River near historic Lift Lock 74 on the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park (C&O Canal). The work will begin later this month and last approximately 18 months. For the safety and convenience of park visitors to this area CSX will install a temporary parking lot adjacent to historic Lift Lock 75. CSX will install a new vehicular bridge across Lift Lock 74, River Road. The new bridge will serve public traffic on River Road and provide access for heavy equipment necessary to replace the railroad bridge. CSX’s construction contractor will be working closely with the C&O Canal to ensure the safety of park visitors as they install the temporary lot at Lock 75 and new vehicular bridge over Lift Lock 74.
Although the C&O Canal towpath and River Road will remain open in this area during construction, visitors should exercise caution and expect to experience minor delays, possibly up to 15 minutes. The park is asking the public to obey all posted signs in the work area for their safety.
Wishing you a happy and healthy March! With nice weather on the horizon it is a great time to get involved with the VIP program in the park. We encourage you to apply now for positions so that you can get trained and start volunteering at the beginning of the spring season. Be sure to make a trip to the canal whenever we get a break in the cold weather. Looking forward to spring and seeing you at the Canal Pride Days events!
Give Back to The Park You Love
The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park has many opportunities for our visitors who are interested in volunteering for the park. Whether your interest is in living history, bike patrolling, park maintenance, or staffing a visitor center, the C&O Canal has many rewarding volunteer jobs.
Throughout the country, thousands of individuals assist the National Park Service by volunteering their time and talents. These people who work side-by-side in partnership with NPS employees are called Volunteers in Parks, or VIPs. VIPs care about the parks- their past, present, and future- and care about the people who come to visit the parks.
Wherever they work, whatever their job, VIPs help the park service in its challenging mission: To conserve the parks’ natural and historical resources and to provide for their enjoyment in a way that will leave them unimpaired for future generations. Volunteer opportunities available at the C&O Canal National Historical Park are listed under “Get Involved”.
Check back with us regularly for upcoming volunteer opportunities! Give back to the park you enjoy, love, or want to improve!