Welcoming close to 5 million visitors annually and stretching 184.5 miles long, the C&O Canal National Historical Park requires many boots on the ground to maintain its trails and towpath, operate programs, and assist visitors. The National Park Service would not be able to do this without the invaluable efforts of the many volunteers who contribute thousands of hours of service each year. Read More
The State of Maryland has announced that it would support the C&O Canal National Park Service’s towpath resurfacing project with a grant of $1.02 million from the Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) for the third consecutive year. Read More
The last Saturday in September is Bike Your Park Day, an initiative created by the Adventure Cycling Association to promote biking in national parks, state parks, and other public lands. Lowell Markey, longtime volunteer with the C&O Canal National Historical Park, led an interpretive bike ride on September 28 to celebrate this year’s Bike Your Park Day. Visitors got to experience the new towpath surface near Shepherdstown and discover the history of this part of the park.
On August 22nd and 28th, the C&O Canal Trust hosted two groups of girls from Community Bridges Inc. at Lockhouse 6. As part of the Trust’s Canal for All Initiative, the groups were given a brief lecture about the history of the canal from a Canal Classrooms teacher and spent the night in the lockhouse.
Over 7,000 K-12th grade students benefited over the 2018/2019 school year from the Park’s award-winning Canal Classrooms program. This curriculum-based program, supported in part by C&O Canal Trust donors, allowed young people from a wide variety of backgrounds to learn the unique history of the C&O Canal and to deepen their knowledge of the natural world in one of the most biologically diverse national parks in the United States.
Year One of the Park’s multi-year towpath resurfacing project is complete! Towpath users can now enjoy 23 miles of completely rehabilitated towpath, from Edwards Ferry (Mile 30.8) to Whites Ferry (Mile 35.5) in Montgomery County, and from Brunswick Family Campground (Mile 54) in Frederick County, to the Shepherdstown Bridge (Mile 72) in Washington County.
The Conservation Jobs Corps (CJC) is a new program built off the successful Maryland Conservation Corps (MCC). After years of seeing the benefits that MCC provides to young adults and the natural resources they protect and restore, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources expanded the program to include a younger age group. By partnering with community organizations, teens and young adults are able to work alongside natural resource staff to conserve Maryland’s natural landscapes.
On Thursday, August 8, the first boat traveled across the newly-restored Conococheague Aqueduct in Williamsport, MD. The C&O Canal National Historical Park hosted Governor Larry Hogan, Senator Ben Cardin, and Senator Chris Van Hollen, among other elected officials at a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by hundreds of people. Read More
After 23 years at the C&O Canal National Historical Park — 16 as its Superintendent — Kevin Brandt is retiring on September 14, 2019. The C&O Canal Trust sat down with him as he reflected on his long National Park Service career. Read More
This year, the C&O Canal hosted 90 middle school students from Identity Inc. at Great Falls Tavern Visitor Center in celebration of Latino Conservation Week. This week was created in 2014 by the Hispanic Access Foundation to provide Latino youth and families with outdoor recreation opportunities near their homes and for Latino communities to demonstrate their commitment to conservation. Sherry Guillen, the Community Volunteer Ambassador for the Park, organized a day of hiking, biking, and learning activities. Guillen wanted kids to realize what resources are available to them and provide them with recreational opportunities that they might not have experienced before. There were many first-time experiences that day, including being in the Park, seeing Great Falls, and riding a bike.
C&O Canal Superintendent Kevin Brandt has announced his retirement from the National Park Service effective at the end of September 2019. Brandt helped to found the C&O Canal Trust 12 years ago as the official nonprofit group supporting the C&O Canal National Historical Park and has worked in partnership with us as we have grown our programmatic and philanthropic support to the park
After three years of fundraising, planning, and construction, the C&O Canal Trust, the nonprofit partner of the C&O Canal National Historical Park, today cut the ribbon at the newly-rehabilitated Swains Lockhouse. This historic lockhouse, located at a popular entrance point to the C&O Canal National Historical Park (NHP) at Lock 21 in Potomac, Maryland, will join the C&O Canal Trust’s award-winning Canal Quarters program as the seventh lockhouse available to guests for overnight stays. Read More
After three years of fundraising, planning, and construction, the doors to the newly-rehabilitated Swains Lockhouse will swing open to guests this summer. This historic lockhouse, located at a popular entrance point to the C&O Canal National Historical Park at Lock 21 in Potomac, Maryland, will join the C&O Canal Trust’s award-winning Canal Quarters program as the seventh lockhouse available to guests for overnight stays. Read More
The Canal Towns Partnership (CTP), a group of nine communities surrounding the C&O Canal National Historical Park, are offering a free shuttle to transport C&O Canal cyclists and hikers around the towpath washout between mile marker 48 at Point of Rocks and mile marker 55 at Brunswick. Read More
At 184.5 miles long and with more historical structures than any other national park, the C&O Canal National Historical Park is always a work in progress. This summer, however, visitors will be able to enjoy the fruits of several big projects nearing completion. Read More
Each year, the C&O Canal Trust welcomes spring with our annual Canal Pride Days. These public events draw hundreds of volunteers from the community and allow Canal lovers to help ready the Park for the busy season by tackling a variety of preservation and maintenance projects. Read More
Visitors accessing the C&O Canal National Historical Park (NHP) at Edwards Ferry (Mile 30.8) will find a smooth surface running to Whites Ferry (Mile 35.5) – the first five miles of the towpath to be resurfaced as part of the Park’s proposed multi-year, 80-mile towpath resurfacing project. Read More
What’s it like to work in a national park? Would this be a good fit for me?
This spring and early summer, a group of teenagers from backgrounds traditionally underrepresented in the National Park Service have had the opportunity to answer those questions as participants in a new Canal For All program developed by the Trust to inspire these young people to aspire to a career in the Park Service they may not have yet considered. 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 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
With the re-opening of the government, the C&O Canal Trust, the official nonprofit partner to the C&O Canal National Historical Park (NHP), will be working closely with Park staff in the coming weeks to assess damage done to the C&O Canal NHP during the month-long closure, and to identify immediate and longer-term maintenance needs. The Trust will then leverage its extensive volunteer network to provide boots on the ground to take care of those projects suited to the capacity and skills of community volunteers. 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
The Trust is able to make a positive impact along the 184.5-mile length of the Park only with the support of our donors and the help of committed volunteers. In fiscal year 2018, 1,302 Trust volunteers performed 10,032 hours of service, worth $281,690 in in-kind labor.