As the philanthropic partner to the C&O Canal National Historical Park (NHP), the C&O Canal Trust works to raise funds for vital Park programs that improve the visitor experience and preserve the historical and natural integrity of the C&O Canal. Thanks to the generosity of individual donors and foundations, the Trust presented the Park with a gift of $127,500 in support of three key programs including Canal Classrooms; Rare, Threatened, and Endangered (RTE) Plants; and Towpath Resurfacing.
Canal Classrooms Corps by Francis Grant-Suttie
Resurfacing at Big Slackwater by Brian Rimm
White Trout Lilly by Clara Thiel
For school-age children, Canal Classrooms offers the unique opportunity to learn about the C&O Canal through STEAM-based curricula (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math). This past school year, Canal Classrooms held more in-person programming with 2,000 participants. The National Park Service offered 30 educational programs, all of which were held at Great Falls, Williamsport, and Cumberland. Additionally, funding for Canal Classrooms is also used to purchase interpretive supplies and resources that are included in Canal Explorer Backpacks and distributed to public school surrounding the Park.
The Rare, Threatened, and Endangered (RTE) Plants funding initiative was first launched two years ago in 2021, and since then, the Park has made a huge impact in fostering the survival of these rare and unique plants species. The Park has successfully propagated and planted 1,840 individual plants from 13 species, with a survival rate of 90-95% to date.
Towpath Resurfacing continues to be important to the accessibility and safety of the C&O Canal NHP. Almost entirely fee-free, the Park’s the towpath is visited by nearly 5 million people each year from Cumberland to Georgetown. To date, the Park has resurfaced over 70 miles of the towpath between Violettes Lock and Big Slackwater, as well as the Western Maryland Rail Trail Towpath Connector.
Funding provided by the C&O Canal Trust will allow the Park to further build on each of these projects in the upcoming year. Thank you to our dedicated and passionate supporters who make it possible to further our mission of ensuring the C&O Canal NHP remains a place for present and future generations to enjoy.