The C&O Canal Trust is the official non-profit partner of the C&O Canal National Historical Park and works in partnership with the National Park Service to protect, restore, and promote the canal. The Trust seeks to ensure the Park’s  natural, historical, and recreational potential is fully realized.

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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!

VIPs Recognized for Assisting Parks

An extraordinary group of VIPs (Volunteers-In-Parks) donated 7.9 million hours of service to the National Park Service in 2015. These 440,000 people performed an astonishing variety of tasks which enhanced both park operations and the visitor experience. This week, the National Park Service and National Park Foundation honored the recipients of the annual Hartzog Awards for Outstanding Volunteer Service at a ceremony in Washington, DC.

“National Park Service volunteers are amazing,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. “They are willing to do anything and everything for parks and ask for nothing in return.  Among many other things, they welcome visitors, lead tours, maintain trails, conduct research, plant gardens, monitor wildlife, demonstrate arts and crafts, and perform historical reenactments, and they do it all with unwavering enthusiasm. They are an inspiration to us all.”

The award is named in honor of former National Park Service Director George B. Hartzog, Jr. and his wife Nancy. Hartzog created the Volunteers-In-Parks (VIP) Program in 1970 with 300 volunteers. Since then, more than 4.3 million people have volunteered more than 1.4 billion hours of service.

The Hartzog Award for Outstanding Individual Volunteer was presented to Vinh Le-Si from the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park. 

Le-Si contributed more than 1,000 hours to the park last year and was a driving force behind many projects that directly benefit park visitors. He staffed the visitor center, was a Billy Goat Trail steward, a member of the bike patrol, a part of the park’s Bike Loaner Program, and a crew member on the reproduction mule-pulled canal boat. He was also the chief organizer of the volunteer boat maintenance team which identified and addressed the maintenance needs of the boat.

Said Rebecca Jameson, Park Ranger in the Palisades District, “I couldn’t have been happier or more proud of Vinh’s service and accomplishments as I watched him accept his award from the Director of the National Park Service, Jon Jarvis.  I am sure I speak for the entire C&O Canal staff and volunteer corps when I say I am truly honored to work with Vinh.  His service to the park makes a lasting impact on the canal’s resources, its visitors and those he works with.”


Volunteer Recognition Centennial Coin 

Are you ready for a challenge? The National Park Service’s centennial year is here, and we want to encourage everyone to take part in the celebration! We invite people of all ages to find their park and discover the national parks in their community through volunteerism. Registered volunteers who contribute 201.6 hours of service between January 1, 2016 and December 31, 2016 can earn a Centennial Volunteer Challenge Coin! 

Click Here to learn more details!