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Rain or Shine, Trust Celebrates May Programming

Photo by Francis Grant-Suttie

The C&O Canal Trust celebrated a very active May with various events focused on stewardship, education, and beautification throughout the entire length of the C&O Canal National Historical Park (NHP).

Canal Community Days events are among the most popular events held each spring in the C&O Canal NHP. So much goes into the success of these events, namely the dedication of our volunteers and community partners who join us in the Park, as well as the sponsors who help fund the necessary tools and materials to clean-up our national park.

In early May, despite the relentless rainy weather, 50 volunteers came out to Cushwa Basin for clean-up projects. In total, volunteers removed 1,425 pounds of garlic mustard and 200 pounds of trash; spread 1 cubic yard of paver base, 5 cubic yards of mulch, and 3 cubic yards of topsoil; planted 59 native plants; installed 22 landscaping timber around garden areas; and replaced 28 boards on 10 picnic tables.

Photo by Francis Grant-Suttie

We are so fortunate that we have such a robust canal community. In Williamsport, the Trust was joined by volunteers from the following community partners: CompleteCare of Hagerstown, Girls Who Hike Maryland, Hagerstown Home Depot, Maryland MINI Cooper Club, M&T Bank, Saint James School of Maryland, Sierra Nevada Corporation, Springfield Middle School’s LEO Club, United Bank, and Washington County GenNext.

As the nonprofit partner to the full 184.5 mile park, the C&O Canal Trust is committed to beautification throughout the entire length. On May 18, the Trust welcomed a mighty crew of six volunteers to the Spring Gap Campground in Allegany County for trash and invasive species removal projects. Volunteers removed 75 pounds of trash and 125 pounds of garlic mustard.

In addition to public volunteer events, the Trust also engaged community groups through our Canal For All program. Throughout the month, we welcomed the Arc of Washington County, our newest Canal For All partner to Williamsport. Canal For All is an outdoor education program that focuses on four pillars: Learn, Play, Work, Serve. This program aims to expose youth and families to the beauty and historical significance of the C&O Canal NHP. During the two different Canal For All events held in Williamsport, participants from the Arc of Washington County were invited to Lockhouse 44 for a brief tour of the historic lockhouse and interactive art projects that involved using natural materials found in the Park. The ARC of Washington County offers comprehensive day and residential services for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. These services include skill-building activities, vocational training, community engagement opportunities and therapeutic support. The focus is on enhancing independence and fostering social connections to promote a meaningful and fulfilling life for each participant. To learn more about the Arc of Washington County, visit https://www.arcwc-md.org/.

ARC of Washington County Photo by Trust Staff

National Kids To Parks Day Photo by Trust Staff

As a part of the Canal For All program, we partnered with the National Park Service at Great Falls during National Kids to Parks Day. National Kids to Parks Day is a nationwide event promoted by the National Park Trust and is celebrate annually on the third Saturday of May. The goal of this national event is to connect kids and families with their local, state, and national parks. During the event, 90 youths and their families participated in various activities including craft projects, historically interpretive experiences, and a lock gate demonstration. At Lock 20, in front of the Great Falls Tavern Visitor Center, Park Staff invited visitors to watch how lock tenders would operate a lock gate. During the heyday of the canal’s operation, a lock was used to manipulate the elevation of the water levels through a lock to allow a boat to pass through.

Thank you to everyone who participated in both Canal For All activities and public volunteer projects. We continue to work on opportunities to expand our canal community and focus efforts on growing a community of stewardship for our local national park!