National Park Service News Releases
December 19, 2014 – C&O Canal Association receives grant from 2014 Challenge Cost Share Program
Contact: Ben Helwig, Acting Chief, Interpretation, Education and Partnerships, 301-491-6259
CUMBERLAND, MD – Today the National Park Service and the Outdoor Foundation announced recipients of the 2014 Challenge Cost Share Program, which supports projects that promote urban outreach, youth engagement and connecting people to the outdoors. The partners selected 20 projects, from 187 applications, and will award nearly $400,000 that will be matched by an additional $885,000 in direct and in-kind contributions from recipients. A total of 14,000 youth are expected to be engaged through the program.
The C&O Canal Association received $15,000 to support its work to engage Maryland school children as well as nearby Pennsylvania and West Virginia youth at the replica canal boat The Cumberland. Located in Cumberland, Maryland, the full-sized replica canal boat is used to interpret the canal story to elementary and middle school children in the region. The project is being completed in conjunction with Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park and a second park partner, the Canal Place Preservation & Development Authority (CPPDA). Grant funds will allow for replacement of boat decking, window repair, improvement of the drainage systems and other work to extend the life of the boat.
Situated at the terminus of the C & O Canal and built in 1976 as a Bicentennial project, The Cumberland allows National Park Service staff a great opportunity to introduce local youth to the history of the canal at Cumberland and the environmental connections between the C &O Canal and the Potomac River. About 2,500 visitors, primarily school children, tour the boat each year; however, with improvements and repairs to the boat, coupled with a major expansion of park curriculum based education programs at Cumberland, we expect to double visitation to “The Cumberland”.
“C&O Canal Association is pleased to expand our support to the educational opportunities of the C&O Canal NHP in Cumberland. This matching grant will permit completion of the deferred repairs and should result in another 20 years of service for the replica boat. What a great opportunity this presents”, says William Bauman, a member of the Association’s Board of Directors.
“Nowhere else in the western district of the park, can students get a hands-on understanding of the C&O Canal from a boatman’s perspective,” stated C&O Canal Superintendent Kevin Brandt, “Youth are able to climb aboard the Cumberland and step back into the 19th century, exploring a range of topics from family life to the design and operation of cargo boats on the canal.”
“Repairs to The Cumberland were critical,” said Deidra Ritchie, Executive Director, CPPDA, “We could not have moved forward with the repairs if not for the C&O Canal Association and the National Park Service's time and funding. It is a perfect example of partnerships and we certainly appreciate all the time and effort.”
C&O Canal Association members have been helping staff The Cumberland replica canal boat during scheduled student tours for many years. The Association is now seeking volunteers who will help staff the boat on summer weekends and thus have the boat open to the general public, in addition to the scheduled student tours. Please visit http://www.candocanal.org/volunteer.html for more info.
The Challenge Cost Share Program supports National Park Service parks and programs that are aligned with partners that promote urban outreach, youth engagement, and/or connecting people to the outdoors. The initiative requires a 1:1 match by the local recipient -- resulting in greater financial leverage and impact. In addition, the Outdoor Foundation is actively seeking additional support for the selected projects. Program priorities include:
- Urban Outreach: Projects to promote active healthy living, restore or conserve community natural and cultural assets, or promote close-to-home access to recreation within an urban setting.
- Youth Engagement: Projects to engage youth participants to play, learn, serve, and work associated with National Park Service sites and programs.
- Connecting People to the Outdoors: Projects to enhance tangible and/or intangible access to the outdoors that provide increased outdoor recreation opportunities.
“The Outdoor Foundation is thrilled to partner with the National Park Service to reconnect Americans to their national parks and engage a new generation of outdoor enthusiasts and stewards,” said Chris Fanning, executive director of the Outdoor Foundation. “The Challenge Cost Share program is one of the most effective initiatives that leverages public and private funds and invests in local partnerships that deliver results.”
The Outdoor Foundation
The Outdoor Foundation is a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to inspiring and growing future generations of outdoor leaders and enthusiasts. Through groundbreaking research, youth engagement and community grant-making, the Foundation works with young leaders and partners to mobilize a major cultural shift that leads all Americans to the great outdoors. In just five years, the Foundation has invested $4 million into 500 not-for-profit and college programs that have connected 200,000 young people to the outdoors. Importantly, 90¢ of every dollar goes directly into this critical work. Visit us at OutdoorFoundation.org.
December 17, 2014 – C&O Canal hiring local educators at Great Falls
Contact: Hollie Lynch, Education Coordinator, (301) 491-0149
POTOMAC, MD – The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park (C&O Canal) seeks local educators to assist with delivery of new park education programs in Montgomery County, Maryland. The C&O Canal Trust, the park’s official non-profit partner, will offer a daily stipend to educators. A training workshop will be held for new recruits in February 2015 at the C&O Canal Great Falls Tavern Visitor Center. Educators will work side-by-side with park staff to deliver outdoor education programs along the historic canal towpath and the Potomac Gorge area.
C&O Canal partnered with Montgomery County Public School teachers to develop new education programs for elementary, middle and high school students and are piloting new programs during the 2014-15 school year. The programs encourage students to explore their local national park and support national and state curriculum standards. During the field trips, each class will work on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) activities specifically tailored to its grade level. Complementary classroom and on-line activities will focus on vocabulary, reading, and writing. Bus scholarships are available and will help schools afford the cost of transportation for their field trip.
To apply for the Canal Classroom Corps position, please contact the C&O Canal Education Office at email@example.com or by calling 301-714-2213.
December 11 2014 – Park announces new Deputy Superintendent
Contact: Hollie Lynch, firstname.lastname@example.org, 301-491-0149
HAGERSTOWN, MD – The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park (C&O Canal) is pleased to announce John A. Noel has been selected as the park’s Deputy Superintendent effective November 16, 2014.
As Deputy Superintendent, Mr. Noel will be responsible for the day to day operations of the C&O Canal, which directly impacts the experience of more than 5 million annual visitors. The diversity of Mr. Noel’s responsibilities is evident in the unique characteristics of the C&O Canal’s resources and operations which range from robust interpretive, education and volunteer programs, to protecting and preserving thousands of natural and cultural resources in the 184.5 miles of park, spanning across the state of Maryland and into the District of Columbia.
“As the national parks approach their centennial in 2016 and plan for a second century of engagement with the American public, John is ideally qualified to serve as the park’s deputy superintendent,” stated C&O Canal Superintendent Kevin D. Brandt. “John is an experienced manager who has taken on increasingly more challenging positions and performed transformational work to develop interpretive and educational programs that reach new audiences and utilize new technologies to build relevancy.”
During his fourteen years working for the National Park Service, Mr. Noel has held several positions at the C&O Canal. In 2001 Mr. Noel began volunteering at the C&O Canal’s Williamsport Visitor Center before joining the park staff as the C&O Canal’s Volunteer Coordinator where he built a robust volunteer program that won the highest recognition among national parks and federal agencies, respectively. As the park’s Partnership Coordinator Mr. Noel brought more than $3.5 million into the park through partners. His success eventually led to the establishment of the Division of Partnerships and Volunteers, where Mr. Noel brought more than $12 million to the park for a variety of historic preservation projects. Since 2012 Mr. Noel has served as the Chief, Division of Interpretation, Education and Partnerships, where he has led the merging of two divisions, revamped the interpretive and educational programs, developed and implemented a digital media plan, and managed day to day operations throughout the park. “I am pleased to accept the responsibilities of managing park operations” stated John Noel, “I most look forward to working with a great team of staff, partners and local communities as we serve millions of visitors each year.”
Mr. Noel is a native of the DC area and a graduate of Mt. St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Maryland where he earned a B.S. in accounting with a minor in finance. Post-graduation he became a certified public accountant in Maryland and earned a professional certificate in historic preservation from Shepherd University in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. Prior to working for the National Park Service, he had a successful 18 year career in sales and accounting. Mr. Noel resides with his wife and children in Shepherdstown, West Virginia.
October 23, 2014 – C&O Canal Association provides bus funding for Washington County Public School fourth graders
WILLIAMSPORT, MD. – On Thursday, October 23, 2014 at 11:00, students from Bester Elementary School, part of Washington County Public Schools, participated in a check hand-off event with members from the C&O Canal Association at the C&O Canal National Historical Park (C&O Canal) Cushwa Basin in Williamsport, Maryland.
The generous amount donated by the C&O Canal Association, a non-profit organization, covers the cost of bus transportation to bring every fourth grader from Washington County Public Schools to the C&O Canal for an education field trip during the 2014-15 school year. The $4,000 donation is part of a larger 2013 pledge of $30,000 on behalf of the C&O Canal Association to assist schools seeking bus funding to visit the C&O Canal. This marks the second consecutive year of support from the pledge. The C&O Canal Association has provided students from Washington County and other school districts bus funding for several years.
“The Association is pleased to provide bus transportation to the fourth-grade students of Washington County. They are our future. If the Park is to survive, we must engage everyone, especially the younger generation,” said C&O Canal Association president, Dward Moore.
As a result of this important donation, 65 Bester students spent their day learning in an outdoor classroom at their local national park. During their visit students participated in a variety of hands-on, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) based lessons that are both engaging and fun. Education programs were developed in partnership with Washington County Public School teachers and are part of a growing education program in the park, Canal Classrooms, which features PreK-12 options for curriculum education at the C&O Canal. All programs identify with national and state curriculum standards and include pre/post visit materials.
“We are very grateful for the great partnership with the C&O Canal Association,” said C&O Canal Superintendent Kevin Brandt. “Without their support it would be impossible for so many students to visit the park each year and participate in a curriculum education program. “
The C&O Canal Classrooms education program focuses on building a sustainable program, which it hopes to attain, in part, through leveraging partnerships. A Transportation Scholarship Fund, which offers bus stipends to schools planning field trips, was established to help provide opportunities for more students to visit and learn about the C&O Canal. For more information on Canal Classrooms visit www.nps.gov/choh or email the Park at email@example.com.
September 8, 2014 – C&O Canal Invites Public to Comment on the Restoration of Canal Operations at Hancock
Contact: Michelle Carter, 301-714-2225
WASHINGTON COUNTY, MD – The National Park Service, Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park, is conducting a public review of the Restoration of Canal Operations at Hancock, Maryland, Environmental Assessment, September 2014.
The National Park Service will be accepting public review comments beginning September 8, 2014 through October 10, 2014. The draft Environmental Assessment presents information on projected impacts to park resources from the proposed project to Restore Canal Operations at Hancock, Maryland. The project area begins at towpath Mile 122.12 and ends at towpath Mile 124.59. This area includes: Locks 51, Lock 52, the Bowles (Little) Farm, the Tonoloway Aqueduct, canal prism, canal boat basin, Little Tonoloway Picnic Area, and the Little Tonoloway Boat Ramp. The project proposes several preservation, restoration, and development projects within the Hancock area.
In accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act and the National Historic Preservation Act the National Park Service invites public comments regarding this project. Comments received will be used to evaluate this project.
A public meeting will be held on September 24, 2014 from 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM at the Hancock Town Hall, 126 W. High Street, Hancock, MD. The public is invited to attend the Open House any time during these hours.
Further information about this project is located on the National Park Service Planning, Environment & Public Comment website http://parkplanning.nps.gov/choh. Written comments should be submitted through this website.