If you’re planning on heading out to hike or bike along the towpath in the next couple of weeks, you might want to try out the five-mile section between Edwards Ferry and Whites Ferry (Mile 30.8 – Mile 35.5). This is the first stretch of the towpath to undergo a complete “makeover” as part of the Park’s multiyear, 80-mile towpath resurfacing project. The towpath has been graded to facilitate water drainage, and resurfaced with the same durable material that bikers enjoy on the Great Allegheny Passage (Trail) from Pittsburgh to Cumberland. Read More
A new documentary featuring the C&O Canal and the Great Allegheny Passage (GAP Trail) will air in March on WQED in Pittsburgh and in May on MPT in Maryland. One of America’s most treasured biking destinations, cyclists from around the world enjoy 335 uninterrupted miles of breathtaking scenery and fascinating history on the two connecting trails, which run from Washington, D.C. to Pittsburgh, PA. Fellow cyclists serve as the tour guides on this video journey. Read More
Last year, the C&O Canal Trust and the C&O Canal National Historical Park worked with Dr. Josh Howard of Passel Historical Consulting on a project that traced the history of the African American Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) along the C&O Canal. The resulting report, “Our Only Alma Mater:” The Civilian Conservation Corps and the C&O Canal, was recently awarded an Excellence in Consulting Award from the National Council on Public History. Read More
The C&O Canal National Historical Park has much to offer during the winter months to park visitors who enjoy the colder temperatures. Snow on the ground provides the opportunity for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing and offers a beautiful backdrop for hiking, dog walking, bird watching, and photography. Frigid temperatures usually find folks taking to the ice for a solitary skate or a pickup game of ice hockey. Enjoy winter photos of the C&O Canal National Historical Park, courtesy of our monthly Facebook photo contest entrants. Read More
The C&O Canal Trust recently launched a new Job Skills Development Program that will provide hands-on experiences in a National Park setting to disadvantaged youth ages 14-17 during the spring and summer of 2019. The program will expose its participants to training in preservation, conservation, and maintenance projects, and will also provide enrichment programs will resume building, recreational opportunities, and job shadowing. Read More
2019 is going to be a very busy year for our Canal Pride program as the Trust works with volunteers from our canal communities to help the Park recover from the floods of 2018 and the effects of the government shutdown. Beginning in March, the Trust will recruit over 1,000 Canal Pride volunteers to undertake projects throughout the year along the 184.5-mile length of the canal: campground and picnic area improvements, towpath and trail repairs, building maintenance and historic preservation, invasive plant and trash removal, native landscaping, and more.
In 2016, the C&O Canal Trust embarked on a mission to ensure the C&O Canal National Historical Park would be relevant and cared for in future generations. Called the “Canal For All” initiative, the program sought to develop lasting, balanced partnerships with African American and Latino communities in Montgomery County, MD, where 38 percent of the population are Hispanic or African American. Read More
As the government shutdown stretches into its second month, the C&O Canal Trust continues our work in support of the C&O Canal National Historical Park, but without our valued National Park Service (NPS) colleagues at our side. Because we share office space which was closed due to the shutdown, the Trust staff have been working from home as we plan for our spring Canal Pride events, manage Canal Quarters, and raise funds for towpath resurfacing and Canal Classrooms. Read More
Each month the C&O Canal Trust holds a photo contest on our Facebook page of photographs taken in the C&O Canal National Historical Park and its surrounding Canal Towns. Votes are placed by “liking” the photos. The winner receives bragging rights and their photo at the top of our Facebook and Twitter pages for one month. We receive beautiful photos every month and wanted to share our 2018 winners with you. Read More
Hagerstown, MD – The C&O Canal Trust today announced a t-shirt artwork contest to commemorate the 12th anniversary of their Canal Pride events. Amateur artists are invited to create and submit artwork that celebrates the 12th anniversary of this volunteer-driven event. The winning design will be printed on our Canal Pride t-shirts and worn by hundreds of volunteers as they work in the C&O Canal National Historical Park during the spring months. Read More
Cheyenne Sebold, the Trust’s Programs and Partnerships intern, recently presented a poster at the Chesapeake Conservation Corps’ annual Chesapeake Watershed Form focusing on volunteer based invasive plant programming to manage invasive species in the C&O Canal National Historical Park. Read More
On Friday, October 19, 2018, Stephen Chaudet took the helm of the Trust’s Board of Directors as its new Chairman after having served four years as Vice Chairman of the Board and Chair of the Development Committee. Read More
The threat of Hurricane Florence this past September reminded people across the Mid-Atlantic about past hurricanes that have devastated the area.
In June of 1972, Hurricane Agnes came roaring into Maryland. It would go on to cause over $110,000,000 worth of damage in Maryland alone. Susan S. Garmon was a 17 year-old teenager at the time, living in Lockhouse 6 with her family in the newly-created Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park. This is her story. Read More
I embarked on my first towpath ride on Saturday, July 29, planning to ride from Georgetown to Cumberland over a week’s time. This was not my first time going long-distance on the towpath, as I participated in the Sierra Club’s 50 mile walk from Washington, D.C. to Harpers Ferry, WV when I was a decade younger. But this was my first time traversing the miles by bike. Read More
The Bald Eagle, considered a sign of strength since the times of the ancient Romans, has been our national symbol since 1782. Fun fact: Benjamin Franklin, in a letter to his daughter in 1784, described the bald eagle as “a bird of bad moral character”. This regal bird has now become an icon symbolizing American strength and fortitude. Read More
The Paw Paw Tunnel near Oldtown, Maryland, is one of the most notable features of the C&O Canal. The Tunnel itself is an incredible feat of engineering, and its construction alone has a colorful history. Here are five things you may not know about this incredible part of the canal! Read More
This time of year can be difficult for those of us with allergies to pollen and other grasses. Even though this can be frustrating at times, it’s important to get outside if you want to enjoy the spring. Sunshine and warm weather can be a huge mood-booster after the months of dreary, cold weather. Read More
The C&O Canal is wonderful for many reasons, but one of them is its vast history. With the White House only a 10-minute walk from the Park, various Presidents have enjoyed the Canal and the Potomac River over the years for both its recreational opportunities and tranquility.
Without further ado, let’s take a stroll through history on the Canal with our former Presidents. Read More
March and April are the months to make a visit to the C&O Canal towpath to search for Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica).
These gorgeous blue flowers create wonderful patches of color along the towpath and are a welcome sight for those who are tired of the dreary winter weather.
The C&O Canal Trust’s new mobile app, the C&O Canal Explorer, was awarded the Innovative Product Partnership Award from the Public Lands Alliance on February 28 during the Public Lands Alliance Convention and Trade Show in Palm Springs, CA. Read More
In the previous blog post, brief mention was made of educational advisor C. Rushton Long, the lone African American administrator within the canal camps. This one man, more than any other, was the most important man at both Camp NP-1 and Camp NP-2. Long quite likely served as the first true coach, educator, and leader these enrollees had ever known. Read More
William Allen lived and worked at Camp NP-2 in Cabin John, and was well known to his fellow enrollees as the “camp jitterbug No. 1” for his dancing all about the camp. In June 1938, the camp welcomed a new batch of enrollees from Baltimore. Not long after that, Allen stopped dancing – those “Baltimore boys” were experienced visitors to jazz clubs, and Allen was essentially shamed into early dancing retirement by his friends. Read More
The C&O Canal National Historical Park (NHP) traces its existence as a recreational site to hundreds of young black men. These men, all of whom were out-of-work and between 18 and 25 years old, lived and worked at two camps (Camp NP-1 and Camp NP-2) operated by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), located along the canal near present-day Carderock Recreation Area from 1938-1942. Read More
Sharpsburg has arguably one of the most colorful histories of any of our Canal Towns. In 1763, a man named Joseph Chapline founded Sharpsburg (then called Sharps Burgh) in honor of his friend, Governor Horatio Sharpe. Chapline chose this tract of land because of its easy access to water. The “Great Spring” of Sharpsburg can still be seen in the large pool that sits in the middle of the block behind Town Hall. Read More
Please note: The 12 p.m. lecture has sold out. Please email [email protected] if you would like to be placed on a waiting list. We hope you will join us at the open house, which does not require an RSVP.
Free open house at Lockhouse 10 to follow.
Potomac, MD – The C&O Canal Trust and the C&O Canal National Historical Park will host a lecture on Sunday, February 25 from 12-1 p.m. by historian Dr. Josh Howard about two African American Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camps that existed along the C&O Canal from 1938-1942. Located near Cabin John and Carderock, Maryland, the camps were established as a part of the New Deal program and are a unique lens to examine the African American experience in the CCC, as most of the CCC’s history has been based on its white enrollees. Howard will present his research as a part of Black History Month. Read More
January getting you down? Look back at 2017 in the C&O Canal National Historical Park with each month’s photo contest winner! These photos capture the beauty of the park, which cannot be rivaled anywhere else. Next time you visit the park, make sure you bring your camera and submit a photo to our monthly contest. For more information on the contest and how to enter, visit our website. Read More
Canal Quarters lockhouses are popular for their historic charm, proximity to the towpath, and unique overnight lodgings. Through the years, the lockhouses have also been the destination for marriage proposals. Recently, George Marshall contacted us to relate his story about his recent experience at Lockhouse 6. Read More
The 1870s are alive and well in the C&O Canal National Historical Park. Experience a history lesson, a unique boat ride, and the famous C&O Canal mules when you take a trip on the Charles F. Mercer canal boat at the historic Great Falls Tavern. It’s a great way to see how folks lived and worked along the canal during its heyday.
The Charles F. Mercer is a replica packet Canal boat, named after Charles Fenton Mercer who was the first president of the C&O Canal Company from 1828-1833. Packet boats like the Mercer operated regularly and carried visitors back and forth between Georgetown and the Great Falls area. Your ride on the Mercer will begin at the Tavern and take you upstream through a historic operating lock as your boat is raised eight feet to meet the height of the canal waters. The boat, fully loaded with passengers, will then be pulled upstream by the famous C&O Canal mules while park rangers in period clothing describe what life was like for people who lived and worked on the canal during the 1800s.
Tickets can be purchased at the Great Falls Tavern Visitor Center in the park at 11710 MacArthur Blvd., Potomac, MD. The Charles F. Mercer boat capacity is 65 people and boat programs last approximately one hour. Rides are offered weekends, including some Fridays, during the spring and summer. Check if the boat is operating before setting out at https://www.nps.gov/choh/planyourvisit/great-falls-canal-boat-rides.htm.
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Brunswick should really be called a “Railroad Town”, but we like them, so they are a Canal Town anyway! Unlike any of the other towns, the B&O Railroad built Brunswick far more than the canal ever did. While the Canal came through in the 1830’s, it was the decision by the B&O Railroad in the late 1800’s, to relocate their rail yard here that truly made the City of Brunswick. For a time, the six-mile long railroad yard at Brunswick was the largest in the world. Read More
May is National Historic Preservation Month! Historic preservation is very important to us here at the C&O Canal Trust. Much of our work involves partnering with the National Park Service staff to preserve the historic structures in the C&O Canal National Historical Park (NHP). This month we want to highlight the important work of saving our places and building our communities through preservation. Read More