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C&O Canal Trust Raises Over $200,00 at Park After Dark

By News
On September 17, the C&O Canal Trust welcomed nearly 150 guests to the Historic Great Falls Tavern for the largest fundraising event of the year, Park After Dark. The event, which benefits the C&O Canal National Historical Park (NHP), raised a total of $223,750—surpassing the Trust’s fundraising goals and previous Park After Dark events. Of the funds raised at the event, $55,000 will directly support the Park’s work to preserve and protect rare, threatened, and endangered plants. Read More

Canal Trust Staff to Host Walks for Walk Maryland Day

By News

Walk Maryland Day by Charissa Hipp

Wednesday, October 5 is the 8th annual Walk Maryland Day. Members of the C&O Canal Trust staff will be hosting walks throughout the C&O Canal National Historical Park (NHP) during the day. The public is invited to attend these walks and participate in Walk Maryland Day, a celebration of Maryland’s official state exercise. With 347 miles of trails in the park, the C&O Canal NHP is the ideal place to enjoy the outdoors and take a walk.

  • 10:00 a.m. – Point of Rocks, 2 miles round trip
  • 11:00 a.m. – Billy Goat C Trail, 2.8 miles round trip
  • 5:00 p.m. – Brunswick Boat Ramp, 2 miles round trip
  • 5:30 p.m. – Cushwa Basin at Williamsport, 3 miles round trip
  • 5:30 p.m. – Little Tonoloway at Hancock, 2.7 miles round trip
  • 6:00 p.m. – Railroad Bridge Bridge Parking on Canal Rd. at Sharpsburg/Shepherdstown, 2-3 miles round trip
  • 6:00 p.m. – Dam 5, 2-3 miles round trip

Participants are encouraged to register as a Sole Mate on the Walk Maryland Day website.

President & CEO of the C&O Canal Trust Robin Zanotti Announces Retirement

By News
Robin Zanotti

Robin Zanotti by Trust Staff

Williamsport, Md. — After more than seven years as president of the C&O Canal Trust, Robin Zanotti has announced she will retire in early 2023. Zanotti is participating in a year of succession planning and transition management with a succession planning team led by the Trust’s Board of Directors. This is meant to ensure the change in leadership is seamless and the organization maintains its momentum in both revenue and program growth.  Read More

C&O Canal Trust Wraps up Successful Canal For All Season

By News

Canal For All at Four Locks by Francis Grant-Suttie

Throughout the month of July, over 300 youth and adults from Community Bridges, the Boys & Girls Club of Washington County and Girls, Inc., of Washington County, and the Boys & Girls Club of the Eastern Panhandle joined us in the park for games, crafts, historical hikes and tours, birdwatching, songs, outdoor skills, and dodging more than a few raindrops. Read More

Picnic Area At Cushwa Gets A Fresh New Look

By News

Photo By Trust Staff

During Williamsport’s Canal Community Days event in May, Trust volunteers and staff put a lot of work into sprucing up the area around Cushwa Basin. Canal Trust staff member Don Street built two raised beds that were added to the picnic area adjacent to the Trolley Barn. Ellen Kinzer from the Trust staff selected native perennials from The Native Niche like Golden Alexander (Zizia aurea), False Salomon’s Seal (Smilacina racemosa), and Heartleaf Foamflower (Tiarella cordifolia) that were planted by volunteers during the event. Read More

Celebrating Olmsted’s Living Legacy

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‘Great Falls from Olmstead Island’ by Kara McNulty

This year the nation is celebrating the bicentennial of the birth of Frederick Law Olmsted with a yearlong Olmsted 200 celebration. Olmsted was considered the founder of American Landscape Architecture, designing some of our most celebrated landmarks in the United States, such as Central Park and the U.S. Capitol Grounds in Washington, D.C. His work preserving America’s Scenic Spaces left its mark, even laying the foundation for the national park system. When he retired in 1895, his sons continued his legacy. Read More

Visitors to C&O Canal National Historical Park Create $161 Million Economic Benefit to Gateway Communities; Support 1,360 Jobs

By News

Image Credit: NPS

National parks are a vital part of our nation’s economy and help drive a vibrant tourism and outdoor recreation industry. According to a new National Park Service report, 2021 National Park Visitor Spending Effects, approximately 6.7 million visitors spent $247 million in local gateway regions while visiting National Park Service lands in Maryland last year. These expenditures supported a total of 2,940 jobs, $130 million in labor income, $215 million in value added, and $344 million in economic output in the Maryland economy. The C&O Canal National Historical Park (NHP) helps lead the economic impact among NPS sites in Maryland, second only to Assateague Island National Seashore in total visitor spending. Read More

C&O Canal Trust Celebrates Kids to Parks Day at Fletchers Cove

By News

Photo Credit: Francis Grant-Suttie

Despite the record heat, which made it feel more like a mid-summer day, the C&O Canal Trust’s celebration of Kids to Parks Day at Fletchers Cove was filled with smiles and enthusiastic participants. Children and their families were greeted by staff from the Trust and from WUSA9 who volunteered to help with programming for the day. Children were invited to complete Junior Ranger booklets and participate in a variety of activities.  Read More

Nearly 50 Volunteers Participated in 15th Annual Canal Community Days Clean-Up Event in Williamsport

By News, Volunteer

Photo Credit: Francis Grant-Suttie

Williamsport, Md. – On Saturday, May 14, the C&O Canal Trust, in partnership with the C&O Canal National Historical Park (NHP), hosted its 15th annual Canal Community Days event in Williamsport. Nearly 50 volunteers from around the community spent the morning working on projects to restore and revitalize the C&O Canal at Cushwa Basin and Lockhouse 44. Read More

Trust Hosts First Successful Canal Community Days Event of 2022 at Great Falls

By News

Photo by Francis Grant-Suttie

The C&O Canal National Historical Park received a lot of love on Saturday, April 23, 2022, as the C&O Canal Trust welcomed volunteers, elected officials, Trust Board Members, and partnering organizations into the Park at Great Falls for our first Canal Community Days volunteer event of the season. Nearly 100 volunteers successfully removed over 1,000 pounds of trash and invasive plants, spread 15 yards of mulch in the picnic area, painted several park features, sanded the Mercer, and cleaned the Tavern’s first-floor windows.
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Trust Supports Preservation of Rare Plants in the C&O Canal National Historical Park

By News

A Biodiversity Treasure in Peril

The C&O Canal National Historical Park (NHP) is beloved for its natural beauty, rich recreational opportunities, and accessibility for over five million visitors. What is less well known is that it is one of the most biologically diverse national parks in the nation. Since its creation in 1971, nearly 200 rare, threatened, or endangered (RTE) plants, some of which are globally rare and unique. But that number appears to be dwindling. Between 2008 and 2020, just 106 previously identified RTE species were found along the C&O Canal. Invasive non native plants, regional urbanization, and surging visitation have all taken their toll on the fragile habitats that make such diversity possible. With the addition of unfolding climate change, the National Park Service (NPS) is facing complex challenges to conserve these resources.  Read More

Celebrate FeBREWary with the C&O Canal Libations Trail

By Eat/Drink, News
We are excited to announce the widely popular C&O Canal Libations Trail will carry on in 2022! Featuring craft breweries located in or nearby the ten Canal Towns, the popular trail was developed in a joint effort involving Allegany, Montgomery, Frederick, and Washington county tourism bureaus, Visit Maryland, C&O Canal Trust, and the Canal Towns Partnership as part of the C&O Canal National Historical Park’s 50th anniversary year long celebration. Read More

Seeking Freedom Beyond the C&O Canal

By Blog, History, News
The Potomac River and its companion C&O Canal were the northern boundary of the Confederate states.  Many people fled to that boundary and the Union protection beyond it.  A curious passage from Civil War Captain Michael Egan’s “The Flying, Gray-Haired Yank” reads “The post [Hancock] was also a transfer point on the “underground railway” between Maryland and Virginia, where, before my arrival, large amounts of goods contraband of war were permitted to pass with a superficial examination, or without any inspection.”   Read More

Carderock C&O Canal Wayside Wins National NAI Award

By News
Two wayside exhibits, documenting life at Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camps NP-1 and NP-2 on the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal during the Great Depression were the recipient of a National Association for Interpretation (NAI) award in December 2021.  The exhibit project, created by Iondesign, owned by Ruth Bielobocky of Frederick, MD, was one of three such awarded entries in the “outdoor media” category. Read More

C&O Canal Trust Presents the C&O Canal National Historical Park With $200,000

By News
On December 9, 2021 the C&O Canal Trust presented a gift of $200,000 to the C&O Canal National Historical Park (NHP). “The C&O Canal Trust provides the ways and means for individuals to contribute directly – through philanthropy, volunteerism, and advocacy – to the Park we love today and to the one we will leave to the future. This gift represents a couple of years of this activity, from our community of donors who give in support of the Park’s Canal Classrooms education program and Towpath Resurfacing efforts,” said John Guttmann, Board Chair of the C&O Canal Trust. “The C&O Canal Trust provides critical support for our work. Funding these programs is especially important because they provide a legacy for future visitors to enjoy the Park for years to come,” said Tina Cappetta, Superintendent of the C&O Canal National Historical Park. Read More

C&O Canal Trust Reflects on Programs This Year

By News
As the volunteer project season draws to a close, I am amazed at how quickly and eagerly people have stepped up to help take care of the park, especially when it was needed most: a time when the definition of “normal” has been upended, the park has been loved a little too hard, and when it could be unhealthy for some people to venture out into public spaces. Still, you came, and now we admire the results. Read More

C&O Canal Trust Celebrates a Successful Year for Canal Community Days

By Canal Pride, News

Great Falls Canal Community Days by Francis Grant-Suttie

Canal Community Days is the C&O Canal Trust’s annual volunteer program. Each year, we recruit and manage hundreds of volunteers to undertake a range of preservation, beautification, maintenance, and conservation projects along the 184.5 mile length of the C&O Canal National Park, working closely with the National Park Service to identify priorities that can be completed by volunteers of all ages.  Read More

Trust Raises Over $150,000 at Picnic in the Park

By News
On Sunday, September 12, the C&O Canal Trust hosted Picnic in the Park to celebrate and raise funds for the C&O Canal National Historical Park’s 50th anniversary. The event was held at Carderock Pavilion where over a dozen picnic tables were beautifully decorated with photos of well-known Park landmarks and bouquets of locally-grown flowers. Read More

C&O Canal Trust Reflects on Canal For All Programming This Year

By Canal For All, News
The C&O Canal Trust’s Canal For All program was launched in 2017 with the goal of engaging young people from underrepresented communities in programs in the C&O Canal National Historical Park (NHP). This year, the Canal For All program has grown to provide fun and educational programs  with community partner organizations in and around the C&O Canal. Summer partners included the Boys & Girls Club of Washington County, Girls Inc., and Community Bridges. Read More

C&O Canal Receives Funding from Great American Outdoors Act

By News
A project at Dam 5 along the C&O Canal  is one of 165 projects that will benefit from the recently-passed Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA). The GAOA is providing up to $1.9 billion a year for five years to the National Parks and Public Land Legacy Restoration Fund. This money will fund deferred maintenance projects in National Parks, forests, wildlife refuges, recreation  areas, and American Indian schools.   Read More

C&O Canal Trust Supports Survey of Rare Plants In Billy Goat Trail System

By News
Halberd-leaf rosemallow (Hibiscus laevis). Credit: NPS/Renzi.  
The C&O Canal National Historical Park has a new Botany Fellow, partially funded by the C&O Canal Trust. Clara Thiel is completing her Master of Science in Applied Ecology and Conservation at Frostburg State University, and for the next year, she will focus on surveying rare, threatened, and endangered plant species in and around the Billy Goat Trail System of the C&O Canal NHP.  Read More

C&O Canal Trust Announces Creation of Apparel Line in Partnership with Maryland-Based Route One Apparel

By News
March 1, 2021 – The C&O Canal Trust today announced the launch of a new C&O Canal-themed apparel line in partnership with Maryland-based company Route One Apparel to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the C&O Canal National Historical Park joining the National Park Service.

The initial collection features a short-sleeved t-shirt with a rendering of the scenic C&O Canal towpath on the back. The shirts will retail for $24.99, and a portion of the sale of each shirt will support the C&O Canal Trust’s mission to preserve and protect the C&O Canal National Historical Park. The Trust is the official nonprofit partner of the Park.

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Eleven Local Breweries Release C&O Canal-Themed Beers to Kick Off Libations Trail in Celebration of the C&O Canal National Historical Park’s 50th Anniversary

By News

The Canal Towns Partnership and the C&O Canal Trust announce the launch of seven C&O Canal-themed beers by eleven local breweries as part of a new C&O Canal Libations Trail created to celebrate the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park’s 50th anniversary as a part of the National Park Service. The trail will also include wineries, distilleries, and specialty cocktails to be released later in the year.

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Artwork Contest announced to find new Canal Community Days logo

By News

The C&O Canal Trust is conducting a t-shirt artwork contest to find a logo that will represent our 2021 Canal Community Days events. Amateur artists are invited to create and submit artwork that celebrates these annual volunteer events that bring community members together to beautify the C&O Canal National Historical Park for the spring season.  The winning design will be printed on our Canal Community Days t-shirts and worn by volunteers as they work along the C&O Canal during the spring and summer months. Read More

Fourth Year of Funding Received for Towpath Resurfacing

By News

The resurfacing project that has so far as smoothed out 42 miles of the C&O Canal’s towpath between Edwards Ferry and Shepherdstown will receive another infusion of cash with a $1.147 million grant from the State of Maryland’s Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP). This is the fourth grant the C&O Canal National Historical Park has received in support of the “Towpath Rehabilitation: A Safe Towpath” project aimed at improving more than 80 miles of the 184.5 mile-long towpath.

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Trust Announces New Board Members

By News
John S. Guttmann became Chair of the C&O Canal Trust’s Board of Directors in October, taking over from Stephen E. Chaudet, who wrapped up a two-year term. John is a Shareholder in Beveridge & Diamond, PC, a law firm that focuses on environmental issues. He also serves as General Counsel and a member of the Board of NAEM, the National Association for Environmental Management. Before assuming the chairmanship, John served the Trust as the chair of the development committee and as pro bono counsel. He and his wife Holly Cannon are residents of the Palisades neighborhood in Washington, DC, which overlooks the canal. He often bikes and walks the towpath with his dog Winston. Read More

C&O Canal Trust Answers “What Are You Grateful for?”

By Blog, Content, News
The holiday season is almost upon us, and it is bound to look very different this year while we still maintain safe ways of gathering in the midst of a world-wide pandemic. The C&O Canal Trust staff are here to remind you that while the impending holiday season is bound to look a little different this year, we are all so grateful for everything we do have, namely the Park!

Celebrate with us and share what you are also most grateful for this November!

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Trust Board Approves Diversity, Equity, Inclusion Resolution

By News
The C&O Canal Trust Board of Directors approved a Board Resolution at their June meeting affirming the Trust’s commitment to the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Although the statement had been in the works for months, its passage now – as the nation reckons with its history of racial inequity – underscores how imperative it is that we continue to integrate these important principles into all facets of our organization. Read More

C&O Canal Trust To Fund Comprehensive Survey Ahead of Rehabilitation of Billy Goat Trail System

By News
The C&O Canal Trust will help fund a comprehensive survey of rare, threatened, and endangered plant species along the trails in the Great Falls area of the C&O Canal National Historical Park, recognized as one of the most biologically diverse parks in the entire national park system. A $64,757 grant will be used by the Park to hire a one-year botany fellow and a four-month botany intern. Read More

Park Sees 49 Percent Surge in Park Visitation

By News
In March and April of this year, the C&O Canal National Historical Park experienced a 49 percent increase in visitation over the same period in 2019, with 1.07 million visits logged by automatic counters at key access points in the Park — 352,700 more visits than in March and April 2019. But even as people have flocked to the Park for respite, they have also placed a great deal of stress on its infrastructure. Trash has accumulated, assets have been damaged, new graffiti defaces several historic structures, and regular spring maintenance has been deferred.  Read More

3 Ways to Support the Canal Towns

By Blog, News, Towns and Communities
The Canal Towns, ten towns that line the C&O Canal National Historical Park, provide cyclists and tourists with lodging, food, and services that make the thru-ride possible for so many people. However, the merchants in these towns are suffering, as the tourism and hospitality industries are some of the hardest hit due to COVID-19 closures. As we enter what would be the start of the busy outdoor recreation season on the canal, please consider supporting the Canal Town businesses in the following ways: Read More

My Time as an AmeriCorps VISTA with the C&O Canal Trust

By Blog, News
I’m 10 months into a year-long internship as an AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) with the C&O Canal Trust. Towards the end of college, I knew I didn’t want to go straight into another degree program. I was interested in program evaluation, policy research, community, and international development. I was keenly aware that there was a disconnect between the theories and case studies I was reading about and the reality of community development and the nonprofit world. I strongly wanted experience in the nonprofit or public sector before I continued my education. For these reasons, I applied to the AmeriCorps VISTA program and accepted a one-year position working with the C&O Canal Trust and the Canal Towns Partnership. Read More