Charlie Morton, an Interpretive Volunteer at the Williamsport and Hancock Visitor Centers, is one of the C&O Canal’s very dedicated volunteers. Charlie joined the park in 2007 and has logged an average of 700 service hours per year. He is one of few volunteers in the park with Master Ranger Corps certification. Charlie agreed to meet for a short interview to share his experience at the C&O Canal. 

How did you get involved with the C&O Canal VIP Program?

I retired here in Williamsport and I live less than a mile away from the Cushwa Basin. One nice day I went for a walk on the towpath and I made a stop at the visitor center. Ranger Leslie Brodhead was working there at the time and she told me that I should join. So I did. 

What is your favorite part about volunteering at the C&O Canal? 


I especially enjoy teaching school groups about the history of the canal. In 2009 and 2010 the National Canal Museum Exhibit was at the trolley barn and every fourth grade class in Washington County visited to learn about the history of the canal. I worked in the trolley barn 5 days a week during this time and around 3,000 students visited us that year.

Describe a perfect day for you at the C&O Canal.

My perfect day would be a weekday during the spring when the school groups come. I really enjoy teaching kids about the canal. They bring some excitement to the visitor center.

If you had a time machine where would you go in C&O Canal History / Future?

I would love to see the Cushwa Basin during its heyday in the 1860’s. It would be amazing to see how the railroad interfaced with the Canal. At that time the Cushwa Basin was a critical turnaround point for the canal boats and was an important center for trade and commerce. Here, coal was shipped down from Cumberland was loaded onto the railroad cars. It would be neat to see how this worked from a townsperson’s perspective.

If you’d like to volunteer at the Williamsport Visitor Center contact Kelly Fox at Kelly_Fox@nps.gov or visit the Volunteer-in-Parks website www.chohvip.org.