National Park Service News Releases
September 16, 2016 – C&O Canal Federal Advisory Commission Members Appointed
Contact: Linzy French, email@example.com, 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.
September 9, 2016 – C&O Canal Launches Second Year of Every Kid in a Park Pass;
Receives Field Trip Grant from the National Park Foundation
Contact: Hollie Lynch, Education Coordinator, 301-491-0149
Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park (C&O Canal) encourages all fourth graders to visit the park for free this year as part of the Every Kid in a Park program. The program gives fourth grade students, and those accompanying them, free access to more than 2,000 federally managed lands and waters. Visit www.EveryKidinaPark.gov to download the pass and obtain more information.
“There’s so much to discover at the C&O Canal, and we’re excited to welcome fourth graders and their families throughout the year,” stated C&O Canal Superintendent Kevin Brandt. “We hope that our young visitors learn and have fun in the great outdoors and develop a lifelong connection to our nation’s land, water and wildlife.”
C&O Canal offers curriculum-based education programs for grades PreK-12 at three park locations: Cumberland area (Allegany County, MD), Williamsport (Washington County, MD), and Great Falls/Potomac (Montgomery County, MD). In-park programs are offered during the fall (September – November) and spring (April – June) seasons. All curriculum programs were developed in partnership with local teachers, identify with national and state learning standards, and have an interdisciplinary focus including math, science, history, and more.
C&O Canal was selected to receive a 2016 field trip grant from the National Park Foundation, the official charity of America’s national parks, to support the Every Kid in a Park program. The grant is part of the Foundation’s Open OutDoors for Kids program. This year’s grant will support Washington County Public School 4th grade students, providing them bus funding to visit the park and participate in the Every Kid in a Park program.
“These grants are planting the seeds for lifelong relationships with national parks and their programs,” said Will Shafroth, president of the National Park Foundation. “By providing access to transformative experiences like listening to the sound of birds chirping, walking the halls of a school that tell a civil rights story, looking up at a dark night sky, or pitching a tent with a friend for the first time, these children are forever impacted. We appreciate the power of national parks and, through our support, the National Park Foundation hopes to share them with as many kids as possible.”
The Every Kid in a Park pass – which features a new design for this year’s students – is valid for a full calendar year starting September 1. The pass grants free entry for fourth graders and up to three accompanying adults (or an entire car for drive-in parks) to most federally managed lands and waters, including national parks, forests, wildlife refuges and marine sanctuaries.
The newly expanded Every Kid in a Park website has links to educational activities, trip planning, field trip options, the downloadable pass, and additional information in both English and Spanish. After completing a fun educational activity, the child can download and print a pass. The paper pass can be traded for a more durable pass at participating federal sites nationwide.
Every Kid in a Park is part of President Obama’s commitment to protect our nation’s unique outdoor spaces and ensure that every American has the opportunity to visit and enjoy them. The program, now entering its second year, is a call to action for children to experience America’s spectacular outdoors, rich history and culture.
Every Kid in a Park is a crucial component of a multi-pronged approach to inspire the next generation to discover all that our nation’s public lands and waters have to offer, including opportunities to be active, spend time with friends and family, and serve as living classrooms to build critical skills.
The Every Kid in a Park program is an Administration-wide effort between the Department of the Interior, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of the Army, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The program continues each year with the then-current group of fourth graders. After 12 years, every school-age child in America will have had an opportunity to visit their public land and waters for free, inspiring the next generation to be stewards of our nation’s shared natural and cultural heritage.
For more information, please visit www.everykidinapark.gov and follow the program on Twitter @everykidinapark, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. For additional information about the C&O Canal and planning a visit for your class, please visit www.nps.gov/choh/education
May 9, 2016 – C&O Canal and Volunteers Win National Park Service Hartzog Award
Contact: Emily Hewitt, 301-714-2219
HAGERSTOWN, MD –The C&O Canal National Historical Park and two of its outstanding volunteers were recently the recipients of both regional and national-level National Park Service volunteer awards. Steve Dean, Vinh Le-Si, and the C&O Canal Volunteer Program were all awarded George and Helen Hartzog Awards for Outstanding Volunteer Service.
Vinh Le-Si was the recipient of the national Hartzog Individual Volunteer Award. Vinh contributed more than 1,000 volunteer hours to the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park in 2015 and was a driving force behind many of the projects that directly benefited park visitors and volunteer staff. As a member of the Bike Patrol, Vinh volunteered on two patrols per week during riding season, covering a 23 mile stretch from Georgetown to the Seneca Aqueduct. Vinh also served as a member of the Bike Loaner Program and volunteered 76 hours to update the park bulletin boards with accurate information for visitors. Vinh’s most exceptional achievement was the repair of the park’s canal boat, the Charles F. Mercer. He recruited a volunteer boat maintenance crew to help identify and address the maintenance needs of the boat. He also worked with the Friends of Historic Great Falls Tavern, a park partner, to garner technical and financial support.
Steve Dean was the recipient of the regional Hartzog Enduring Service Award. Steve began serving as a volunteer in 1991 and contributed nearly 1,400 hours of volunteer service to the park in 2015 alone. He served as the chair member of the Level Walker program, assisted with maintenance of the Lock 38 area as a Canal Steward, participated on the C&O Canal Association Volunteers-in-Parks Team and served as a documentarian for the park’s historical culverts. Steve also spearheaded a two-year effort to reproduce the park handbook. He led the revision of both text and maps, recruited volunteers and park staff to contribute their expertise and added 20 pages to the handbook. Steve worked with the C&O Canal Association, a park partner, to copyright the handbook and pay for its publication. All proceeds from the book will be reinvested in the park’s education programs.
Finally, the C&O Canal’s own volunteer program was the recipient of the Hartzog Park Volunteer Program Award. Through the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal volunteer program, 3,620 volunteers contributed 78,012 hours to the park in 2015. Partnerships with the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club, the C&O Canal Association, Georgetown Heritage and the C&O Canal Trust helped make this program successful.
Volunteer roles in the park include staffing the Hancock Visitor Center every summer weekend, serving on a bike patrol along the canal towpath and providing visitor assistance with first aid and trail information, and repairing the park’s canal boat, the Charles F. Mercer. The completion of necessary boat repairs will allow the Mercer to carry students and park visitors on educational boat rides this spring and summer.
"When a VIP agrees to share his talents, skills and interests with the National Park Service, he is paying us one of the highest compliments possible by offering a most valued possession - his time." (George B. Hartzog, Jr., Director, National Park Service, 1964-1972).
In 1970, the Volunteers-In-Parks (VIP) program started with a few hundred volunteers. Today, more than 246,000 VIPs donate their time, skills, and talents to the National Park Service every year. The George and Helen Hartzog Awards for Outstanding Volunteer Service recognize the exemplary contributions of these very important people.