2017 Fall/Winter Newsletter

Please click here to download our latest edition of our VIP Newsletter in .pdf format!


Spring/Summer 2017 VIP Newsletter

Please click here to download our latest edition of our VIP Newsletter in .pdf format!


Canal Pride Days Announced!


C&O Canal Pride Days is the largest volunteer event series in the park, and provides a great opportunity to enjoy the outdoors and show pride for our neighborhood national park while raising awareness of its ongoing stewardship needs. 

This year C&O Canal Pride Days is celebrating its 10th anniversary, and we would like to welcome participants from all over to join us this spring! A wide variety of projects along the canal are scheduled to take place over four weekends, including:

Saturday, April 22nd in Great Falls
Saturday, April 29th in Williamsport
Saturday, May 5th in Brunswick
Saturday, May 20th at Spring Gap Campground

These events will include projects such as invasive plant removal, painting visitor facilities, as well as beautification of campgrounds and day use areas. We would love to see you come and volunteer with us. Please visit the Trust’s site for more information and to register!


New Edition: CHOH VIP Newsletter!


CHOH VIP Newsletter!

Hello volunteers!

As you may have noticed, some of the news on this website is a little bit less than current. The volunteer office is working on updates and one of our exciting new projects is a twice-a-year VIP Newsletter. As of this post (12/9/2016) the Fall/Winter Edition is being worked on, but we wanted to make the Spring/Summer Edition available here. 

Click Here to download it in .pdf format!


New Chief of Interpretation, Education and Partnerships Announced

I am pleased to announce that after a very competitive recruitment process, Catherine Bragaw has been selected as the new Chief of Interpretation, Education & Partnerships. Catherine’s 30 years of experience developing and delivering NPS interpretive and education programs, coupled with her Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from West Virginia University, uniquely qualifies her to lead the park’s expansion of Canal Classrooms and the re-establishment of our Georgetown interpretive operation.
Effective immediately, Catherine will serve as the Acting Chief of Interpretation, Education & Partnerships until her official start date of October 18th.
Welcome aboard Catherine!
Kevin Brandt
Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park



Bike Patrol Field Repair Class

This Field Repair Class will be taught at the VFW by our very own Super Bike Repair Specialists Jim Buchanan and Ric Jackson. The VFW is located on the right hand side very soon after you enter the Park on MacArthur.  Please let Ingrid know if you are interested, and she will see if there is a spot for you. contact
Just in case, we have a “bad weather date” of Wednesday, February 26.  Should we have to cancel the 24th, then we will hold the session on the 26th. If the class is rescheduled, those on the list will be notified directly by either Jim or Ric.
Date: February 24, 6:30 pm
contact: Ingrid Sunzenhauer at

Phenology and Citizen Science Monitoring

Ranger Kelly Fox will introduce Phenology, the study of periodic plant and animal life cycle events and how these are influenced by seasonal and interannual variations in climate, as well as habitat factors (such as elevation). As part of her Master’s Project, Kelly will be starting a monitoring program of several plants in the upstream Great Falls region (along the towpath, River Trail and Ford Mine Trail).  If you would like to participate or just learn more, please join us! If you have any historical data of blooming times please bring them along! This program will have a indoor presentation and outdoor walk.  
Date: March 17, 2013  1:00pm-3:00pm
Contact Ranger Kelly Fox for more information



Eagle Watch Seminar at Great Falls

Eagle Watch - Presenter Bud Cline

Learn about the presence of eagles along the Potomac River and birding techniques to spot them while you are in the park.  Practice your new birding skills on an Eagle Watch hike after the seminar.  RSVP since there is limited space in the Tavern.  Send all RSVPs to Rebecca Jameson at

Date: Sunday 2/24/13

Location: Great Falls Tavern VC

Time: 10:00am - 12:00pm classroom session, followed by a short lunch break.  After lunch Bud will lead a hike to the River Trail to view the eagle’s nest.

Contact Danny Filer at for more information.


New Volunteer Opportunities!

Check out these new opportunities to serve your national park!

Park Headquarters Administrative Clerk

The C&O Canal National Historical Park is seeking a volunteer to complete the re-organization of files for the Division of Partnerships and Volunteers. Volunteer will be assisting park staff in organizing project files and paperwork which are integral to park operations.

This is a great opportunity to serve your local national park, gain credit for a school internship, and gain experience with a federal agency. Uniform will be provided. No housing available.

Individual must be in the Hagerstown, MD area and able to commit 10 hours per week.


Contact Emily Hewitt at or 301-714-2211 for more information.


All Aboard for a Unique Volunteer Opportunity!

The Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park and Harpers Ferry National Historical Park will be beginning its second year of the Trails & Rails program onboard Amtrak’s Capitol Limited between Cumberland, Maryland, and Washington, DC, in May, 2012.  A new addition to the National Park Service Trails & Rails Program, this route runs through the Potomac River valley parallel to the historic C & O Canal and through the town of Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. 

Volunteers will work in teams of two, boarding the train in Cumberland in the morning around 9 a.m. and returning there about 7:30 p.m. at night. While on the train, volunteers will provide narration and information to passengers about the history of the canal, the railroad, the Civil War, nearby towns, and natural features along the route.  Training will be provided by Trails & Rails, NPS, and Amtrak staff in March, 2012. 

If you are interested in learning more about this opportunity or would like to sign up as a volunteer, please contact Park Ranger Rita Knox at the Cumberland Visitor Center by calling 301-722-8226, or via e-mail at


Become a Volunteer Group Leader at the C&O!

Are you interested in serving your community while also utilizing your leadership skills?

The C&O Canal National Historical Park is seeking volunteers that are willing to lead volunteer groups both during the week and on weekends.  Projects will include invasive plant removal, vegetation clearing, towpath resurfacing, painting historic structures, and much more!  The projects will be ready to go and the volunteers will have been recruited – we just need you to lead the group!  On-site training will be provided, as well as tools, supplies, and safety equipment.

Projects will last from 3 to 4 hours and will typically take place on Saturday mornings before noon.  Periodically, we will need volunteer group leaders during the week and on Sundays.  The park will provide uniform items and all training required of the position. The park will provide notice of a project at least 7-10 days prior.

If you are interested in becoming a Volunteer Group Leader, please fill out an application online here.


Bicycle Mechanic Needed in Williamsport

The C&O Canal is looking for a skilled bicycle mechanic to donate time at the Cushwa Basin Visitor Center in Williamsport, MD. The mechanic volunteer will perform maintenance on bikes used by our summer program participants, volunteers, and staff. The bikes currently utilized include K-2, trek, and some have disk brakes. This is an ideal position for a high school student looking to earn community service hours, or a retired person looking to share their skills.

Fill out the application here, or contact Danny Filer at 301-714-2218.


Palisades VIP Seminar - Weed Warrior Training

Training in invasive plant removal techniques for volunteers interested in working as a Weed Warrior. Will focus on species that are easily identified in the fall months. Seminar will include a classroom session and field identification session.

Presenter: National Park Service

Saturday, October 8

10am – 1pm

Great Falls Tavern - 2nd Floor Meeting Room
RSVP to Rebecca Jameson at: or 301-767-3709

Porch Pickin' Bluegrass Event

C&O Canal National Historical Park News Release
Release Date: 09/29/2011
For Immediate Release
Hollie Lynch, Park Ranger, (301) 491-0149

Porch Pickin’ Bluegrass Event October 22, 2011
in Hancock, Maryland

Please join us for the Porch Pickin’ Bluegrass Event on Saturday, October 22nd from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.  at the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park Hancock Visitor Center, located at 439 E. Main Street in Hancock, Maryland 21750.

Friends and families bring a chair and come enjoy local musicians playing bluegrass favorites. The event is free and open to the public.

The C&O Canal’s Hancock Visitor Center, also known as the Bowles House, is open Memorial Day weekend through October 30th, Friday to Tuesday from 9:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. The historic house features a variety of videos, photographs and exhibits that interpret the stories of families who lived and worked along the C&O Canal near Hancock, Maryland. Nature and history programs and activities for youth and families are available upon request.

For more information please contact the C&O Canal’s Hancock Visitor Center at (301) 745-5877 or visit the website at .


Palisades VIP Seminar - Lockhouse 10 and the CCC

Have you noticed work being done on Lockhouse 10?  This seminar will focus on the preservation efforts, the Lockhouse’s new place in the Canal Quarters Program and will give you information on its ties to the Civilian Conservation Corp in the 1930’s.

Presenters: Kelly Fox and Becky Curtis

Lockhouse 10 and the Civilian Conservation Corp

Saturday, October 1

10:00am - 12:00pm

Great Falls Tavern, 2nd Floor Meeting Room

RSVP to Rebecca Jameson at:  or  301-767-3709



Palisades VIP Seminar - Gold Mines at Great Falls

Join us this Sunday, September 25 to learn the history of the mining efforts that took place here in the Great Falls area.  History presentation will be followed by a hike up the Gold Mine Loop trail.              Presenter: Harold Sakayan

Gold Mines at Great Falls

September 25

10:00am - 12:00pm

Great Falls Tavern, 2nd Floor Meeting Room

RSVP to Rebecca Jameson at:  or  301-767-3709


Hancock Apple Festival - September 17 & 18th, 2011

C&O Canal during Hancock Apple Festival - September 17 & 18th, 2011

Hancock, MD – The Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park will feature a variety of programs during the Hancock Apple Festival, September 17 – 18, 2011, in Hancock, Maryland. On Saturday, September 17th at 11:00 a.m. C&O Canal Bike Patrol Volunteers will participate in the Hancock Apple Festival Parade along with a float featuring the new C&O Canal Launch Boat. The launch boat will remain on display at the festival throughout the afternoon.

During the 2-day festival, be sure to stop by the C&O Canal tent between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., located on the festival grounds. In addition to park history the tent will feature C&O Canal Association information.

Saturday afternoon from 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. join us on the front porch of the Bowles House Visitor Center and enjoy local musicians performing bluegrass music.

Sunday, September 18 from 10:00 a.m. until noon, join a park ranger to ‘Bike through History’, a 9 mile loop ride on the C&O Canal towpath from the Bowles House Visitor Center to the Round Top Cement Mill Ruins. The 2-hour program provides a great opportunity to learn about canal operations near Hancock and see historic structures. Children 15 years of age and under are required to wear helmets by Maryland State Law. Please bring plenty of water to keep hydrated.

In addition to festival programming, the C&O Canal’s Hancock Visitor Center, the Bowles House, is open from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Friday to Tuesday, Memorial Day Weekend through late October. The visitor center is located at 439 E. Main Street, Hancock, Maryland 21750.
For more information on hours of operation, programming or to schedule a tour please contact the C&O Canal Hancock Visitor Center at 301-745-5817.


Bike Maintenance Seminar - Saturday September 17

Here is your chance to learn how to fix a flat from a C&O Canal renowned Bike Patrol member. Norman Liebow has offered his time and knowledge to teach his fellow volunteers the basic repair skills that will come in handy while you are working on the towpath. This weekend looks like fantastic weather so you can bring your bike and go for a ride afterwards! I’m sure there will be lots of visitors out.

Bike Maintenance VIP Seminar
Saturday, September 17th
10:00am until 12:00pm
Great Falls Tavern Visitor Center - 2nd Floor Conference room

His November class may fill up, so please do not put it off if you are able to attend this weekend! 

RSVP to Norman at:


National Public Lands Day

Join us on Saturday, September 24, 2011 at Carderock for the annual National Public Lands Day Adopt-A-Crag Event with the Mid-Atlantic Climbers!

Projects this year will include mulching the heavily used portions of trail and the bases of climbing areas and other erosion control measures throughout the trail network of Carderock.

After a morning of work, volunteers will be treated to a free BBQ sponsored by Earthtreks, door prizes and of course rock climbing!

Check-in 8:30am
Service Projects 9-12noon
BBQ and Raffle 12:30pm

Sign up on Facebook

Any questions, contact Nate Finney, Trails Coordinator,