Canal Stewards

Looking for a way to care for the C&O Canal year-round? Consider becoming a Canal Steward, long-term volunteers that “adopt” sections of the Park. Parking lots, boat ramps, day use areas, campgrounds, structures, and/or parts of the towpath can all be adopted. Originally a National Park Service program, the C&O Canal Trust assumed management of Canal Stewards in late 2020. Becoming a Canal Steward is a great way to enjoy the park while at the same time keeping the park safe, clean, and fun for all!

What do Canal Stewards do?
Canal Stewards perform many types of light maintenance tasks. These will vary depending on site, but may include:

  • Lopping and pruning
  • Painting Park features such as picnic tables, fences, signs, gates, etc.
  • Trash pick-up
  • Vegetation removal
  • Leaf raking
  • Scraping and painting grills
  • Restocking of materials such as maps and Trash-Free Park bags

As a Canal Steward, you’ll provide your own tools and equipment, including gloves, bags, loppers, PPE, etc., with the exception of specific situations. You’ll also remove all trash and recycling to dispose of outside of the Park.

With the independent nature of a Canal Steward’s work, it’s a perfect way to get some fresh air and exercise, support the Park, and social distance at the same time!

What are the time requirements of a Canal Steward?
It’s up to you! Some tasks, such as trash and vegetation removal, may need weekly or bi-weekly attention, depending on your site and the time of year. Others may be performed monthly or even less frequently. The beauty of becoming a Canal Steward is you get to choose your own schedule, your site, and how long you’d like to adopt it for.

Where are the adoption sites?
There are a variety of adoption sites in Washington, DC, Montgomery, Frederick, Washington, and Allegany Counties available to volunteers interested in becoming Canal Stewards. Some available sites can be found here. Please contact [email protected] for more detailed information.

Who can be a Steward?

  • Individuals and families
  • Businesses and non-profits
  • Faith-based groups
  • Civic and social clubs

Requirements and qualifications:

  • Be 18 years or older.
  • Provide two character references.
  • Go through Canal Steward Orientation.
  • Commit to fulfilling the needs of your adopted site as outlined in the site agreement.
  • Be responsible for following park, state, and local safety guidelines.

Interested in becoming a Canal Steward? Click the link below!

Sign Up Now

For questions, please contact:
[email protected]

Top Photo by Jason Turner