National Park Service News Releases
Contact:Matt Graves, firstname.lastname@example.org, 301-582-0813
WILLIAMSPORT, MD – The National Park Service (NPS), Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park (C&O Canal) and Town of Williamsport, Maryland will host a groundbreaking ceremony on Friday, May 5, 2017, 11:00 a.m. at the Cushwa Basin in Williamsport to celebrate the start of the restoration of the Concocheague Aqueduct in Williamsport, MD.
The first phase of the restoration project for the entire Williamsport interpretive complex will return the Conococheague Aqueduct to its 1920’s appearance and create the first watered, operational aqueduct along the C&O Canal since 1924.
The restoration project for the entire complex is a true federal-state-local partnership, with $6.24 million coming from a State of Maryland Transportation Alternatives Program Grant, $722,904 from a State of Maryland Bikeways Grant, and $1.33 million from the National Park Service Centennial Challenge fund. The Town of Williamsport has been an active, supportive and essential voice in bringing this project to fruition.
The funding currently available will not only support the restoration of the Concocheague Aqueduct, but it will also fund a new crossing of the canal, a rail trail, and restoration of the historic coal yard. These projects are under design and will proceed to construction in the coming months as well.
Additional funding will be sought to create a new interpretive landscape surrounding the Cushwa Warehouse to bring the story of the industrial revolution along the canal to life for visitors of all ages. Eventually, the entire section of the C&O Canal in Williamsport will be restored to its 1920’s appearance, so it can tell the stories of this important, yet often overlooked, portion of canal history.
“The impossible does not happen as a matter of course. The vision of a rewatered aqueduct was embraced by the entire community. The restoration of the Conococheague Aqueduct represents the best in community partnerships,” Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park Superintendent Kevin Brandt stated. “Rehabilitation of the Conococheague Aqueduct will be the centerpiece of the restored historic landscape in this area of the park, while also creating a premier visitor attraction in Williamsport, Maryland. I can think of no better way to celebrate the centennial of the National Park Service and prepare us for a second century of stewardship than a project that brings together partners on the federal, state and local level.”
The Concococheague Aqueduct, one of eleven aqueducts on the 184.5 miles of the C&O Canal, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Nearly 97 years ago, in April of 1920, the upstream wall of the Conococheague Creek Aqueduct gave way, crumbling into the creek below. The C&O Canal Company temporarily repaired the aqueduct with a wooden wall, but the canal only operated for three more seasons before being abandoned in the spring of 1924.
The project will restore the aqueduct to its appearance in the early 1920’s, with a new upstream wall designed to appear as the wooden temporary replacement wall. More importantly, the aqueduct will be restored to the condition where it can once again hold water, the first canal aqueduct to be restored to full operation. When complete, Williamsport, Maryland will be the only place in North America where visitors can ride boats across an aqueduct and through a working canal lock.
Invited guest speakers for this event include Maryland Governor, Lawrence J. Hogan, U.S. Senator Benjamin L. Cardin, U.S. Senator Christopher Van Hollen, Jr., Representative John K. Delaney, Maryland Senator George C. Edwards, Maryland Delegate Michael W. McKay, Williamsport Mayor Bill Green, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, and C&O Canal Superintendent, Kevin Brandt.
This event is free to all park visitors. The ceremony will take place at the C&O Canal National Historical Park Cushwa Basin, 205 West Potomac Street, Williamsport, MD. Parking for this event can be found at the Riverbottom Park. For more information about the event and the park, call 301-582-0813.
Contact: Pete Peterson, Supervisory Park Ranger, Palisades District (301)-767-3702
POTOMAC, MD – The Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park (C&O Canal) will temporarily close the Olmsted Island Trail and Great Falls Overlook on or about March 1, 2017 for repairs that will improve visitor safety and better protect park resources. Construction on the bridges is anticipated to last 90-120 days with completion and re-opening in late June 2017. Completion of construction may be impacted by weather conditions.
Once complete, the project will provide a safe, reliable, and enjoyable trail to view the Great Falls of the Potomac River. Restoration, repair and refinishing work includes bridge railing, decking and concrete foundation. Noticeable improvements will be sturdier bridge railings and a smoother concrete walking surface.
Park natural resource managers have developed measures to protect the delicate ecosystem of Olmsted Island. This project will be conducted in full compliance with the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA), the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), and additional park regulations.
During construction, the C&O Canal encourages visitors to take advantage of the alternate views of the Potomac on the Maryland side that including Mather Gorge, Conn Island, and the Washington Aqueduct. Full access to all hiking trails, including the River Trail, all sections of the Billy Goat Trail, and the Goldmine Trail offer great outdoor opportunities for adventure. The Great Falls Tavern Visitor Center will offer talks and programs in alternate locations while construction is ongoing. Unimpeded views of the Great Falls will continue to be enjoyed at Great Falls Park on the Virginia side of the Potomac River. We encourage visitors to plan visits to Great Falls Park well ahead, especially on weekends, as the park often sustains high visitation and wait times.
For more information on the project and Great Falls, please visit our website at: https://www.nps.gov/choh/planyourvisit/greatfallstavernvisitorcenter.htm or visit our Facebook page. Be sure and tag your park posts on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter with #candocanal, #greatfalls and #towpath.
Contact: Matt Graves, Supervisory Park Ranger 240-625-2931
OLDTOWN, MD - The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park (C&O Canal) will be performing a rock scaling project along the towpath at the northern or downstream portal of the Paw Paw Tunnel (Mile 155.2) starting mid-February 2017. Rock scaling is the physical removal of loose rock and unstable surface materials that pose a hazard. A portion of the towpath and boardwalk will be closed to visitors during the project. Visitors should also expect short intermittent closures and delays from the parking lot to the Paw Paw Tunnel entrance during the work.
The project will enhance visitor safety by reducing the risk of injury from falling rocks. The rock formation through which the canal and towpath cuts through, north and downstream of the tunnel, has a history of rock layers shearing off and falling on the towpath. This rock formation composed of shale is called “slickenslide” and is common to this area.
To provide thru-access for bicylists during the project, a bypass trail will be opened using an old logging road on the berm side of the Canal upstream of the south tunnel portal. A temporary “bridge” will be installed across the Canal prism that connects with an abandoned logging road that provides a gentler grade to the top of Tunnel Hill. This temporary by-pass then connects with the existing Tunnel Hill Trail. The existing Tunnel Hill Trail will remain open during the project, but for safety reasons, cyclists will be required to dismount and walk their bikes across the mountain using the bypass trail detour. The bypass will be clearly marked with signs.
The existing Tunnel Hill Trail will remain open to hikers approaching from the south or upstream. Visitors should be aware that the trail is steep and strenuous. Park visitors may still walk through the tunnel to the northern portal to experience the tunnel. The park anticipates the project to last 120 - 150 days with completion and full re-opening in late July 2017. Completion of this project may be impacted by weather conditions.
To facilitate the work, construction equipment staging will require closing a section of the Paw Paw Tunnel picnic area parking lot. Additionally, temporary delays on the towpath approaching the south portal should be expected as work crews and equipment move to/from the work site. Work crews will use the tunnel to gain access to the site.
October 28, 2016 – C&O Canal Drains Water from Lock 5 to Georgetown
Contact: Brendan Wilson, email@example.com, 240-625-2931
WASHINGTON, DC – On Thursday, October 27, 2016, the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park (C&O Canal) began draining the watered canal section from Lock 5 (Towpath Mile 5) to Georgetown (Towpath Mile 0). The draining will allow the reconstruction of Lock 3 and the rehabilitation of Lock 4 in Georgetown to begin. The section of the canal immediately upstream and downstream of the project will be without water until the summer of 2018. To allow continued use of the canal during the construction, the park will explore a design and construction option for a low dike near the Foundry Branch Culvert (Towpath Mile 1.48). The dike would enable the park to re-water the section of the canal between Lock 5 and Foundry Branch Culvert.
Once the Lock 3 and Lock 4 project is completed in 2018, reproduction canal boats will once again be able to travel along the waterway. Work is being completed by Clarke Construction under contract with the National Park Service. Park staff are available to monitor the activity and respond to any fish entrapment that may occur. The park will provide updates on the project as appropriate.
September 16, 2016 – C&O Canal Federal Advisory Commission Members Appointed
Contact: Linzy French, firstname.lastname@example.org, 301-714-2201
HAGERSTOWN, MD –The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park is proud to announce the first meeting of the park’s re-authorized Federal Advisory Commission. The meeting will take place on Thursday, October 6, 2016, at 9:00 AM at park headquarters. The meeting is open to the public. C&O Canal park headquarters are located at 1850 Dual Highway, Hagerstown, MD 21703.
The purpose of the Commission is to consult with the Secretary of the Interior, or her designee, on general policies and specific matters related to the administration and development of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park.
Earlier this summer, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell appointed 18 individuals from nominations made by the four Maryland counties that encompass the national park as well as the states of Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia. Three at-large commissioners, including one designated as the chair, and two representing regularly constituted conservation organizations make up the Commission.
“The Commission is a vital link between the National Park Service and the communities along the canal. I’m thrilled to have these talented and knowledgeable representatives of the community volunteer their time to advise us on the full range of topics and issues that affect the national park,” Superintendent Kevin Brandt said.
The agenda for the meeting will include the introduction of the Federal Advisory Commission members, as well as the history of the C&O Canal Federal Advisory Commission, review of commission charter, review of Federal Advisory Committee Act, and discussion of general policies and specific matters related to the administration of the park.
The Commission members:
George E. Lewis Jr. is a Trustee Emeritus of Hood College, founder of the Catoctin Aqueduct Restoration Fund, and recipient of the 2014 Preservation Maryland Volunteer Award. As an early advisor to the C&O Canal Trust, a past director of the C&O Canal Association, and recipient of the Superintendent's Award for Excellence in Citizen Stewardship (C&O Canal National Historic Park), Dr. Lewis has demonstrated an abiding and effective commitment to preservation and promotion of the C&O Canal, its heritage, and its ongoing vitality. Dr. Lewis served with distinction in the U. S. Army as a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine for 30 years. He holds a bachelor's degree in Animal Science from the University of Florida, a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from Auburn University, and a Ph.D. in Microbiology from the University of Illinois. Dr. Lewis is a 2009 recipient of the Daughters of the American Revolution National Medal of Honor, and has twice been awarded the DAR Historical Preservation Medal.
Allegany County, Md.
Stephen D. Nelson is the owner of SD Nelson Marketing Solutions, a publishing and marketing firm in Western Maryland. Mr. Nelson is past president of the Allegany County Chamber of Commerce, YMCA of Cumberland, and Rotary Club of Cumberland and still serves on their respective boards. He also serves on the boards of First Peoples Community Credit Union, Boy Scouts of America Potomac District, and the Tri County Council of Western Maryland. Mr. Nelson is a Scoutmaster for Boy Scout troop 9 and is the recipient of the 2012 Allegany County Chamber of Commerce Community Service award. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Geneva College.
Francis O. Zumbrun II served as forest manager of Green Ridge State Forest (GRSF) until retiring in 2009 after 31 years working as a professional forester for the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. During his time at GRSF, Mr. Zumbrun also served as a fully commissioned law enforcement officer, Maryland Ranger, and as a natural resource manager in the state forest and park public lands system. Mr. Zumbrun holds a bachelor of science in Forest Resource Management, a master of science in Management; and graduated from the Eastern Shore Criminal Justice Academy. Mr. Zumbrun is a published author of a book and many articles about outdoor recreation and history of public lands management in Maryland. In 2009, Mr. Zumbrun received a national award for “Outstanding Field Forester” by the Society of American Foresters.
Frederick County, Md.
Joseph A. Adkins is serving as the Deputy Director for Planning for the City of Frederick. Mr. Adkins is in charge for current and long range planning for the city. Under his leadership, the city formed its first Sustainability Commission and started to have serious conversations about resource conservation. Mr. Adkins is very familiar with serving on boards being on the Heart of Civil War Heritage Area Commission since 1998. In addition to serving on HCWAC, Mr. Adkins has served on the State’s Task Force on Sustainable Growth & Wastewater Disposal as a liaison for the Maryland Municipal League. In addition to the basic requirements for this position, Mr. Adkins has actively used the C&O Canal for past 45 years with such activities as camping with the Boy Scouts, running the JFK (completing it 4 times), family activities, fishing and preparing for his bike trip on the Allegheny Passage.
Walter S. Stull III is a former City Council member for Brunswick, Maryland, where he served for 20 years. During his tenure, Mr. Stull served as liaison to the C&O Canal National Historical Park, commissioner with the Brunswick Planning Commission, and chairman of recreation and finance committees. Mr. Stull is a past chair and founding member of Canal Towns Partnership, whose mission is the economic vitality of towns along the C&O Canal. He is the Maryland Municipal League’s representative to the Tourism Council of Frederick County and Transportation Services Advisory Committee of Frederick County. Mr. Stull is a past president of the Brunswick Heritage Museum which houses the C&O Canal Visitor Center. He is retired from the U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Prisons.
Montgomery County, Md.
Roger A. Berliner was first elected in 2006 to the Montgomery County Council, Roger Berliner represents the Western part of Montgomery County. He is the Chair of the Council’s Transportation, Infrastructure, Energy, and Environment Committee and has been the author of more than two dozen laws that make Montgomery County one of the most sustainable communities in the country. In addition, he is a member of the Health & Human Services Committee, where he has been a strong advocate for seniors, library users, the disabled, and the poor. In addition to his council roles, Councilmember Berliner currently serves as Chair of the Washington Regional Board of Directors of the Council of Governments.
Paul N. Chod is a Washington University alumni graduating with a Master of Science in Engineering. Mr. Chod is the president and owner of Minkoff Development Corporation (“MDC”) since 1978. MDC assists in full service real estate development such as site selection, financing, building design, construction, leasing, and property management. Mr. Chod has a Real Estate Broker’s License in Maryland.
Washington County, Md.
George F. Franks III is the President of Franks Consulting Group and owner of Geo. Franks, Hatter, a global e-commerce business. He is a former technology executive with extensive international experience. George is the founder and President of the Battle of Falling Waters 1863 Foundation, Inc. and a member of the Board of Directors of the Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area. He is a Governor and former officer of the Company of Military Historians and the former President of the organization’s Chesapeake Chapter. George served as President of the Capitol Hill Civil War Round Table and is an active member of Hagerstown Civil War Round Table, Save Historic Antietam Foundation and the Civil War Trust. He is the author of Battle of Falling Waters 1863: Custer, Pettigrew and the End of the Gettysburg Campaign and lives in the 1830 Daniel Donnelly House on the battlefield - less than a mile from the C&O Canal. George was awarded the 2015 John Frye Historical Preservation Award by the Washington County (Maryland) Commissioners. He studied history at the U.S. Naval Academy and the University of Pittsburgh where he was graduated Magna cum Laude. AT&T selected George for the executive programs in marketing and international business at University of Virginia Darden School and Emory University Goizueta Business School.
District of Columbia
Thomas L. Birch has held public office in Washington, D.C. since elected in 2000 as an Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner in Georgetown. A former legislative counsel to members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, he served for more than thirty years as counsel for a variety of nonprofit organizations. He was a Peace Corps volunteer for three years in Morocco, and has served on the boards of several charitable organizations. He has received the American Psychological Association’s Award for Distinguished Contribution to Child Advocacy (2003), the Citizens Association of Georgetown Belin Award for distinguished community service (2006), and the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies President's Award for Outstanding Advocacy (2012). He holds a B.A. in American history from Lehigh University and a J.D. from George Washington University.
Scott A. Walzak is the Executive Director and co-founder of MakeDC, a Public Interest Design studio focused on providing human-centered design solutions for the District and surrounding metro areas. A leading expert in the field of sustainable and biometric design, Scott serves as an Adjunct Professor at Catholic University. He has received multiple national and international design awards, and has served on numerous competition juries. An experienced project manager, Scott simplifies the process of design, construction, and implementation through collaborative and integrative strategies that incorporate the needs of stakeholders, shareholders, and users.
State of Maryland
Angela O. Hummer is a Park Ranger Lieutenant with the Maryland Park Service. She currently manages four parks and has over 25 years of experience in law enforcement management, natural resource management and state park operations. She holds a Master’s of Science Degree in Park and Recreation Administration and graduated from the Maryland Ranger School and the Eastern Shore Criminal Justice Academy. She was recently certified as a Certified Park and Recreation Professional through the National Recreation and Parks Association.
Roderick C. Mackler is the first vice president of the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal Association and chair of the Association’s environment committee. The C&O Canal Association is an all-volunteer citizen’s organization established in 1954 to help conserve the natural and historical environment of the C&O Canal and the Potomac River Basin. Mr. Mackler frequently volunteers with the Association to work on the C&O Canal. He is a retired Foreign Service Officer, regularly attends the World Canals Conference, and brings an international perspective to the C&O Canal.
Commonwealth of Virginia
David G. Brickley is the President of the September 11th National Memorial Trail Alliance, a nonprofit organization developing a national 1,300-mile trail connecting the three national 9/11 memorials. Coming to Virginia from military service in Vietnam where he was awarded the Bronze Star as a captain in the U.S. Air Force, Mr. Brickley served as Assistant County Executive for Prince William County, followed by 22 years as a member of the Virginia House of Delegates. From 1998 to 2002 he was the Director of the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation which in 2001 received the National Gold Medal Award for the “Best Managed State Park System in America.” That same year Mr. Brickley received Environment Virginia’s Environmental Legacy Award. He is an attorney and holds a juris doctorate from George Mason University’s School of Law.
Stella M. Koch has been a strong advocate for the protection and restoration of local streams, rivers and the Chesapeake Bay for over 30 years. She presently serves as Chair of the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority, Chair of the Fairfax County Environmental Quality Advisory Council (advisory to the Board of Supervisors), and Chair of the Virginia League of Conservation Voters Education Fund. She worked for Audubon Naturalist as their Virginia Conservation Advocate for over 25 years and prior to that taught Biology. She previously served on the Potomac River Keeper Board and the Choose Clean Water Coalition Steering Committee.
State of West Virginia
Mark T. Cucuzzella is a Professor at West Virginia University School of Medicine. He is also a Lt Col in the US Air Force designing programs to promote health and better fitness in the military with the USAF Efficient Running Project. In his community and medical school he has been a tireless promoter of nutritional interventions in patients with any spectrum of the metabolic syndrome, introducing a low carb option for hospital patients. He was a lead writer of one of the first grants supporting education of Medical Students in nutrition and physical activity through the MEDCHEFS program, now in its 3rd year. Mark is also the lead on a large USDA grant to double SNAP benefits at Farmers Markets- the goal is reducing food insecurity as a barrier to healthier eating. He’s also been a competitive runner for over 30 years — with more than 100 marathon and ultramarathon finishes — and continues to compete as a national-level Masters runner. He has won the Air Force Marathon twice. He is the race director of Freedom’s Run race series in West Virginia and director of the Natural Running Center, an education portal designed to teach healthier running. Mark is also the owner of Two Rivers Treads — A Center for Natural Running and Walking in his hometown of Shepherdstown, W.Va. Mark’s vision of medical care as it should be is housed in his site www.natureprescriptions.org. Mark’s innovative work and story has been featured in the New York Times, NPR, Outside Magazine, Running Times, Runners World, Air Force Times, the Washington Post, JAMA, Blue Ridge Outdoors, and other medical and media outlets.
Clifford W. Smith retired in 2014 and decided to walk the C&O Canal and raise money for a charity which advocates for abused and neglected children in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia. Prior to retiring, Mr. Smith graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Marine Engineering, entered the Royal Navy in 1957 and was promoted to commander in 1975. Mr. Smith retired from the Navy in 1978 and started a business called Allied Defense Industries and in 1985 created a subsidiary company called ADI Services. In 1997, Mr. Smith sold the business to his son and worked until 2013. Mr. Smith has a strong interest in the preservation and maintenance of the canal as a national historic treasure.
Ray E. Dinterman is the Mid-Atlantic Retail Director for REI – Recreational Equipment, Inc., a consumer co-op whose mission is to “Inspire, educate, and outfit for a lifetime of outdoor adventure and stewardship”. Mr. Dinterman oversees operations for the co-op in Maryland, Virginia, Ohio, and Pittsburgh. He is also a member of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy and actively volunteers with the Boy Scouts of America (himself an Eagle Scout) and Frederick County (MD) 4-H where he serves as a Camelid (Alpaca) Superintendent at The Great Frederick Fair.
Evelyn F. C. Williams is currently serves as an Adjunct Professor at Frostburg State University, supervising their social studies student teachers. In July, 2015, she retired from Washington County Public Schools (WCPS) where she served for 20 years as a high school teacher and then 15 years as an Administrator. Her last position with WCPS 2006-2015 was as the Supervisor of Social Studies for WCPS. Each year in that position she secured grants to provide buses for every fourth grade class in Washington County Public Schools to visit the Cushwa Basin of the C&O Canal. Additionally she helped develop educational materials and a panel of volunteers to support the trips. She serves on numerous boards in her local community including the Washington Historical Society, Washington Museum of Fine Arts and Washington County Department of Social Services. She is also a member of the Friends of Acadia and the C&O Canal Association where she volunteers as a level walker. She believes that one of the keys to foster conservation is through voter education. To this end she has long served on the Board for the Washington County chapter of the League of Women Voters, supporting their advocacy for environmental and conservation measures.
September 12, 2016 – Western Maryland Campsites transition to a New Reservation Only System on Recreation.gov
Contact: Shaun Lehmann, Fee Supervisor, 301-767-3703 or Shaun_Lehmann@nps.gov
HAGERSTOWN, MD –The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park (NHP) will transition from an honor box system to an online only reservation system for all of its current fee drive-in camping locations. These locations include Antietam Creek (Towpath Mile 69.6), McCoys Ferry (Towpath Mile 110.4), Fifteenmile Creek (Towpath Mile 140.9), Paw Paw Tunnel (Towpath Mile 156.1) and Spring Gap at (Towpath Mile 173.3). Due to increasing demand for advanced reservations, this new streamlined process will allow groups and families to access availability calendars, make informed decisions and reserve sites in advance. All 31 of the hiker/biker locations in the park will remain free and available on a first come, first served basis.The new reservation system will be available by September 6, 2016. The transition to the new system will be complete by December 1, 2016. After the December date, reservations and payment for these five locations will only be taken via phone at: 877-444-6777 or online atwww.recreation.gov. To reserve a site, please search for each campground as a unit of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal NHP. For more information or questions please call Shaun Lehman, Fee Supervisor, at 301 767 3703.