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.

Park Photos
Resources for Canal Classroom Corps

C&O Canal Steward Program

Dotted along the 184.5 miles of the historic Chesapeake and Ohio Canal towpath are countless opportunities for volunteers to connect to our national resources. This connection as a volunteer will take them beyond an hour long boat ride, an afternoon of biking or a weekend camping trip.

The Canal Steward Program engages volunteers in a long-term relationship in which they become the caretakers of a designated site within the park. The Canal Steward Program provides significant value to the park and in return the stewards benefit from the deep attachment to special places along the towpath.

The Canal Steward Site Adoption Program’s focus is the completion of maintenance projects to maintain and enhance the facilities and resources of areas which have been adopted. Volunteers formally adopt the site and are presented with an adoption package that details their commitment and the tasks they are responsible for completing at the designated site. Adoption of a site in the park fosters ownership and pride in the resource and in the mission the National Park Service strives to uphold.

There are abundant adoption possibilities for volunteers interested in becoming Canal Stewards. Possible adoption sites include, but are not limited to:

  • Camping Areas
  • Picnic Areas
  • Mile sections of the towpath
  • Visitor Center grounds

Canal Steward Job Description

When pledging to monitor and maintain an area in the park through the Canal Steward Site Adoption Program, the volunteer is taking on a great responsibility. Adoption of a site can be very rewarding, but it is essential that the position is a good fit for the volunteer and/or their group. After completing a training with park staff to orient the group to the site tasks, volunteers will work on their own schedules under their own leadership. This independence would require the adopting group to possess good communication and organizational skills.

Maintenance tasks will vary depending on site, but common activites could include:

  • Mowing and pruning
  • Painting
  • Picnic Table and Sign Repair
  • Trash pick-up
  • Leaf raking
  • Clean and repair grills

Volunteers who are able to provide their own tools and resources will have the greatest flexibility in their work schedules and increase the independence of the Stewards.

Applicants must be 18 years of age or older

If you are interested in any of the above opportunities please email Isaac Pallant at