Potomac Paddlers Volunteer Corps 

The Potomac Paddlers Corps is a volunteer group with the National Park Service under shared management between Great Falls Park and the C&O Canal national Historical Park. The primary mission of the Corps is to have trained, uniformed park volunteers on the Potomac River to assist the park in identifying and reporting incidents, watch out for risky park visitor behavior, and to deliver safety messages to the public about the dangers of the Potomac River in the Potomac Gorge.

 

Corps members are essentially the eyes and ears on the river and provide additional support for communications and assistance for emergency operations. One thing the Corps members are NOT - are police. Potomac paddlers may assist in persuading individuals not to do something, or they may provide an effective safety message to someone who dearly needs one, but he/she is not an enforcer of regulations. That job is left to law enforcement officials.

 Nor is there an expectation for Corps members to be highly trained, expert paddlers capable of technical emergency operations. However, the program strives to provide basic and intermediate levels of swift water rescue training. There may be an incidence when those skills may be needed to provide personal protection, or to assist someone in the river environment. History shows that many people have been saved by paddlers in the Potomac River Gorge, primarily because they are in the right place at the right time.

If you are interested in this opportunity please contact Franice Sewell, Volunteer Coordinator at 703-285-2965 or Franice_Sewell@nps.gov