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 C&O Canal Association

National Park Service News Releases

February 5, 2016 – C&O Canal Celebrates African American History Month

Contact: Hollie Lynch, 301-491-0149

HAGERSTOWN, MD –During the month of February, the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park (C&O Canal) will be celebrating African American History Month with public programming, elementary school outreach opportunities and participation in two special partner events in Baltimore.

On Saturday, February 6th at 2:00 p.m. join a ranger-led walking tour at the C&O Canal’s Great Falls Tavern, in Potomac, Maryland. The walking tour will last approximately 1 hour and participants will walk approximately 1 mile, as we explore African American stories and the canal as a byway on the Underground Railroad. The program is free and open to the public. In the event of inclement weather forecast, please contact the C&O Canal Great Falls Visitor Center at 301-767-3714 to confirm program details. In addition, a self-guided walking tour featuring African American history on the C&O Canal will make its debut and can be picked up at the Great Falls Tavern Visitor Center. The program is free, but there is an entrance fee to the park of $10.00 per single vehicle.  The park entrance to Great Falls Tavern is located at the intersection of Falls Rd. and MacArthur Blvd. in Potomac, Maryland.

Special curriculum based education program opportunities will be available in local schools during the month of February. The program, designed for grades 3-5, vary from 30-90 minutes and feature a series of activities and dialogue on the canal as a byway on the Underground Railroad. The program will explore what freedom means and the stories of those escaping enslavement. Maryland Schools who would like to participate for this in-school program can contact the park at cocanaleducation@nps.gov.  

The park is also collaborating with two regional events that explore the stories of African-Americans in the Chesapeake Region. On Friday, February 5th, from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., C&O Canal NHP will be participating in the National Aquarium in Baltimore’s Black History Month Celebration. The event will be a chance for late-night guests at the aquarium to learn about African American History in the area from local organizations such as C&O Canal NHP and enjoy live jazz music. Admission to the Aquarium for this event will be $19.95 for adults and $12.45 for children ages 3-11 (children under 3 are free). The National Aquarium in Baltimore is located at 501 East Pratt Street, Baltimore, MD.

On Saturday, February 27th from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., C&O Canal NHP staff will again be in Baltimore participating in the B&O Railroad Museum’s special event celebrating the birthday of the railroad. The party will feature activities for children and cake for visitors. Guests will have the opportunity to learn about the men and women who worked along the B&O Railroad, as well as the significant social issues, such as segregation, that affected the B&O Railroad. C&O Canal NHP staff will be stationed at the event to discuss the rivalry between the canal and the railroad and to present an Underground Railroad activity. Admission to the museum will be $18.00 for adults and $12.00 for children ages 2-12 (children under 2 are free). The B&O Railroad Museum is located at 901 West Pratt Street, Baltimore, MD.

For more information concerning park programs and special events please visit our website at www.nps.gov/choh or contact us at cocanaleducation@nps.gov .

December 30, 2015 – Towpath Repair and Resurfacing Miles 117-123

Contact: Brian Hixon, Exhibits Specialist, 301-491-6178

HAGERSTOWN, MD –The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park announces the award for towpath repairs between Mile Marker 117 – 123, just above Licking Creek to Lock 52. This work will start approximately the 4th of January.  The total construction period will run approximately 3 months.  The towpath will remain open to visitors with only minor (10-15 minute) delays expected.

The park regrets any inconvenience this may cause our visitors.  Visitors are asked to exercise caution when using the towpath in this area.   The pedestrians and cyclist will be allowed to pass through the construction site.  Visitors are asked to follow the posted signs and adjust their travel accordingly.

December 23, 2015 – C&O Canal National Historical Park Receives Field Trip Grant From The National Park Foundation

Contact: Hollie Lynch, hollie_lynch@nps.gov; Alanna Sobel, asobel@nationalparks.org

HAGERSTOWN, MD –Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park (C&O Canal) is one of 186 national parks selected to receive a 2015 field trip grant from the National Park Foundation, the official charity of America’s national parks. Funding received will support the C&O Canal’s Transportation Scholarship Program, providing bus funding to underserved students wishing to visit the park for education programs. The grant will specifically help to reach new student audiences from nearby West Virginia schools, bringing them to visit the C&O Canal National Historical Park at Williamsport, Maryland.

This grant, part of the Foundation’s Open OutDoors for Kids program, supports the White House youth initiative Every Kid in a Park.

“It is inspiring to see the National Park Foundation and many other partners step up to support our goal of getting fourth graders and their families into parks, public lands and waters that belong to all Americans," said U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell. "These generous grants will ensure children across the country have an opportunity to experience the great outdoors in their community while developing a lifelong connection to our nation’s land, water and wildlife."

National Park Foundation grants have made it possible for more than 400,000 students (including this year’s grantees) to visit national parks and other public lands and waters.

“We want to help people everywhere, from all backgrounds, discover how national parks, forests, wildlife refuges, and other public lands and waters are relevant to their lives, and the best way to do that is to give people the opportunity to experience them first-hand,” said Will Shafroth, president of the National Park Foundation. “Through our grants that provide funding for transportation and in-park learning, we are able to connect youth and their families to these special places and inspire people across the country to find their park which, in turn, can foster a lifelong connection to all that public lands and waters have to offer.”

Through this grant, students will participate in both classroom and on-site activities that are designed to be hands-on and support national and state learning standards. Teachers will have access to a suite of pre and post visit activities, videos, primary sources and more.

“Given its size and location, the C&O Canal is able to connect with thousands of students in neighboring communities and school districts through Maryland, DC and West Virginia,” said Kevin Brandt, C&O Canal superintendent. “We are grateful for this opportunity to reach out to future national park stewards and provide them with support to visit their national park.”

For the full list of grantees, and their projects, visit www.nationalparks.org/everykidinapark.

December 18, 2015 – C&O Canal Announces New Chief of Business Management

Contact: Hollie Lynch, Public Affairs Assistant, 301-491-01498

HAGERSTOWN, MD – The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park (C&O Canal) is pleased to announce Dr. Daniel Filer has been selected as the park’s Chief of Business Management effective December 27, 2015. The position is responsible for the day to day management of all administrative functions of the park, including administering the park’s $9.2 million annual appropriation, and management of park personnel and property. The Chief of Business Management serves an important role in ensuring the successful operation of the park, impacting the experience of more than 5 million annual park visitors. The diversity and complexity of responsibilities is evident in the unique characteristics of the C&O Canal’s resources, which are supported through various funding sources and programmatic efforts.

“As the national parks approach their centennial in 2016 and plan for a second century of engagement with the American public, Daniel is ideally qualified to serve as the park’s Chief of Business Management,” stated C&O Canal Superintendent Kevin D. Brandt. “Daniel brings nearly a decade of experience in budget management and leadership. His depth of knowledge in business management and organizational behavior is incredibly valuable to the park and he has demonstrated a creativity and passion for improving the park’s transparency and efficiency in operations.”

Over the course of his career working for the National Park Service, and volunteering in the local community, Daniel has developed a wide range of skills that make him an excellent candidate for the position. Rising through the ranks of the Division of Interpretation, Education, and Partnerships Division in western Maryland, Daniel was selected as the park-wide Volunteer Coordinator in 2007. In that role, Daniel continued to grow the park’s volunteer program, making it one of the largest in the system engaging nearly 4,000 volunteers in over two-dozen programs. In 2013, Daniel assumed the role of Partnerships Coordinator at the C&O Canal and became directly involved with the park’s numerous formal and informal partners. In this capacity, Daniel worked cross-divisionally within the park on program development, budget management, and contributed to the revisions of the National Park Service’s policies on philanthropy and partnerships. “The C&O Canal is a valuable piece of American heritage and an economic engine that impacts millions,” stated Daniel. “I look forward to collaborating with park colleagues, volunteers, partners and communities in making the C&O the best it can be.”

Daniel is a native and resident of Frostburg, Maryland. In addition to working at the C&O Canal, Daniel serves as an adjunct professor for Frostburg State University in the History, Philosophy, and Management Departments. In his spare time, Daniel serves as the President of the Foundation for Frostburg, Inc. (http://www.foundationforfrostburg.org), is a member of the City of Frostburg’s Historical Commission, and is a board member of the Allegany County Historical Society. He earned his undergraduate degree in History from Frostburg State University, as well as Master of Education and Master of Business Administration degrees.  His Doctor of Education degree is from West Virginia University. Daniel is a 2015 graduate of the National Park Service’s GOAL Leadership Academy Program.

December 11, 2015 – C&O Canal NHP Reaches Decision on Hazard Tree Management for Developed Areas in Montgomery County

Contact: Catherine Bragaw, Public Information Officer, 301-714-2238

POTOMAC, MD – The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park (C&O Canal) will move forward with hazardous tree maintenance at three locations in Montgomery County that include Swains Lock Hiker-Biker Campground, Rileys Lockhouse Day Use Area and Marsden Tract Group Campground. The work will begin as soon as park contractors can be scheduled. The affected areas will remain open with some partial closures. The decision was reached following a rigorous evaluation that included onsite public meetings and consultation with a National Park Service hydrologist, landscape architect and certified arborist. Because of the additional evaluation one tree will be pruned rather than removed at the Swains Lock Hiker-Biker Campground.

“We truly appreciate all the public input into this important issue; these are not choices we make lightly,” Superintendent Kevin Brandt said.  “Because Swains is well-loved by our neighbors and tourists alike, we believe it is best to immediately address the safety concerns so all of our visitors can continue to use this area, while making a public commitment to re-vegetate the impacted areas when the weather is appropriate.”

The decision was made for the safety of park visitors and allows these popular areas to remain open for people to enjoy. Some tall stumps of removed trees will remain to serve as wildlife habitat, and the park is planning to restore these areas through a replanting effort in the spring of 2016. When planting is deemed appropriate, the park consults the Restoration and Re-vegetation Protocols for the C&O Canal National Historical Park (2010) and any applicable laws or regulations; plantings consist of species that are native to the park or that are historically appropriate. Information on this protocol can be found at: http://parkplanning.nps.gov/canalhazardtree.

To help inform the public about the park’s decision making, the C&O Canal has released a resource brief titled, Developed Area Vegetation Management, which outlines treatment of trees and other vegetation within developed areas of the park. The resource brief can be found at:  http://parkplanning.nps.gov/canalhazardtree.

October 27, 2015 – C&O Canal Announces New Chief of Interpretation, Education & Partnerships

Contact: Hollie Lynch, Public Affairs Assistant, 301-491-0149

HAGERSTOWN, MD – The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park (C&O Canal) is pleased to announce Catherine Bragaw has been selected as the park’s Chief of Interpretation, Education & Partnerships effective October 18, 2015.

In her new role, Catherine will be responsible for the day to day interpretive, education and volunteer/partnership operations of the C&O Canal, which directly impacts the experience of more than 5 million annual visitors. The diversity of 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 spanning 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, Catherine is ideally qualified to serve as the park’s Chief of Interpretation, Education & Partnerships,” stated C&O Canal Superintendent Kevin D. Brandt. “Catherine brings more than 30 years of experience leading park education and interpretive programs. Her depth of knowledge in this field is unmatched and she has demonstrated her creativity and passion for engaging and inspiring visitors of all ages.”

Over the course of her career working for the National Park Service, Catherine developed, delivered and managed education, interpretive and living history programs at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. Her passion for serving the local community led to the creation of long-lasting partnerships with local schools, health care providers, and more. As a result of her work, hundreds of thousands of park visitors have had memorable experiences, engaging with cultural and natural resources, and learning about their local heritage. In 2013, Catherine began working as the East District Interpretive Supervisory Ranger at the C&O Canal in Potomac, MD. During this time, Catherine oversaw interpretive operations including a historic mule-drawn canal boat program, and the creation and pilot of new curriculum-based education programming for K-12 audiences. She also led several projects working with park staff and partners to make improvements to the site and was successful in receiving several grant applications for non-facility projects. “The C&O Canal is one of America’s greatest treasures; where stories of American labor and ingenuity intersect with great beauty, precious ecosystems and rejuvenating recreation,” stated Catherine. “I look forward to collaborating with park colleagues, volunteers, partners and communities in making the C&O the best it can be.”

Catherine is a native of the DC area. Her family moved to Frederick County as she entered 1st grade.  She earned her undergraduate degree from Hood College in Political Science with an emphasis in American Studies. Her graduate degree in Educational Leadership was earned from West Virginia University. Catherine resides in Ranson, West Virginia and has a large family that includes 1 dog, 1 cat, 5 children, and 7 grandchildren.

October 15, 2015 – Safety Improvement Project on Entrance and Access Roads to Great Falls Tavern Area in Potomac, MD

Contact: John Adams, 301-745-5804, john_adams@nps.gov

POTOMAC, MD – Starting October 5, 2015 through January 12, 2016, safety improvement work will be performed on the entrance and access roads in the Great Falls Tavern area in Potomac, Maryland.  The project was developed to improve road safety, improve vehicle flow at the fee collection booth, and enhance emergency vehicles access to the towpath and park area.  The road project will be managed by the Federal Highway Administration through a contract awarded to Pavkov Contracting Company from Sumter SC for $476,849.

On October 12, the contractor will begin work on the turn before the fee booth to increase the super elevation of the turn, and install guardrails, additional signage, and pavement markers.  This work can occur during or after park hours.  If the work is during park hours, visitors will be directed through the construction area with the use of flagmen.  Motorists are asked to drive slowly and use caution.  Due to the removal of asphalt and the uneven surfaces, bicyclists are requested to avoid using the entrance road during this construction period.  Weather permitting, the construction on entrance road will be completed by November 30, 2015.

In addition to the safety improvements of the entrance road, the contractor will be installing traffic control gates at the fee booth.  Two gates will be installed on the entrance lanes and one gate will be installed on the exit lane.  Although gates will be installed during non-park hours, visitors are asked to use caution when traveling through the area.  Once the gates are installed, small vehicles and bikes will use the lane next to the fee booth to enter the park.  Oversized vehicles including large trucks, buses and motorhomes will use the wider outside lane. 

The final phase of this project will be the widening and realignment of the access road behind the public restrooms near the Great Falls Tavern and Visitor Center.  This will allow easier, quicker and safer access to the towpath and river for emergency response vehicles.  During construction, all visitors are asked to use the sidewalk and stay out of the construction area.   Work for this final phase can occur during or after park hours.

August 3, 2015 – Northern Snakehead Fish Found Above Great Falls

Contact: Andrew Landsman, Biologist, Andrew_Landsman@nps.gov, 301-739-6072

POTOMAC, MD –The C&O Canal National Historical Park, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service have recently discovered the non-native northern snakehead fish within the park’s canal system above Great Falls.

After visitor reports of the snakehead fish in 2014, biologists from the agencies discovered several snakehead fish in the canal waters between Great Falls and Violette’s Lock.  The snakehead fish has become firmly established in the Patuxent River and other fresh and low-salinity tidal waterways in Maryland and Virginia, but has not previously been found in the non-tidal Potomac River system above Great Falls.  An aggressive and predatory fish, the snakehead poses a great risk to many of our native and game fish species both within the canal and in the upper Potomac River.

The National Park Service, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service are working together to develop programs to monitor and control the presence and abundance of snakehead fish both in the canal and the upper Potomac River.  As fishing pressure has proved effective in reducing snakehead populations in tidal areas, the park is requesting that anglers pursue, catch, and remove any snakehead fish caught within the Potomac River system.  Please note that there is no seasonal, size, or creel limits for snakehead.  If you observe or catch a snakehead fish within Maryland, please send your observation to fishingreports.dnr@maryland.gov.  DO NOT release snakehead fish back into the canal or Potomac River.

It is a violation of state laws and the federal Lacey Act to possess, import, or transport live northern snakehead fish, punishable by fines up to $250,000 and five years in prison.

May 12, 2015 – Entrance and Camping Fees at C&O Canal NHP Increase June 1

Contact: John Noel, Deputy Superintendent, 301-714-2201, or john_noel@nps.gov

HAGERSTOWN, MD – Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park (C&O Canal) will charge increased entrance, amenity and camping fees beginning June 1, 2015, only in locations where fees currently are collected.

Entrance Fees
Collected at Great Falls, Maryland Only


Starting June 1

Annual Pass*



Vehicle Rate



Motorcycle Rate



Per Person Rate



*The reciprocal fee agreement with Great Falls Park, Virginia will remain in place for the annual park pass.

Entrance fees are not charged to persons under 16 years of age or holders of the America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Senior, Access or Military Passes. These passes may be obtained at the park. In addition, the park offers at least six fee-free days per year.

Amenity Fees


Starting June 1

Drive In Campgrounds (Single Tent Sites)



Drive-In Group Campgrounds



Carderock Group Picnic Pavilion (Mon-Thurs)



Carderock Group Picnic Pavilion (Fri-Sun & federal holidays)



 “We would like to thank all the members of the public who took time to express their thoughts and opinions in person and online over the past few months. We have seen the great passion we all share for this park,” C&O Canal Superintendent Kevin Brandt said.  “These fees collected here, stay here and are put to work improving facilities and services important to visitors and our neighbors who enjoy the great historical, natural and recreational resources at C&O Canal.”

In the fall of 2014, the National Park Service conducted a nationwide review of entrance fees. To solicit public input, C&O Canal launched a civic engagement campaign in January and February 2015. This decision reflects public comment received during that outreach.

     C & O Canal Association     P.O Box 366      Glen Echo, MD 20812-0366     Phone: 301-983-0825      Email: inquiries@candocanal.org