C&O Canal Assn logo
 C&O Canal Association

Volunteer Opportunities

There are many ways to assist the C&O Canal National Historical Parks. Please scroll down for information on both ongoing volunteer programs and specific positions that are currently available.

Become a Level Walker

Level Walkers are C&O Canal Association members who are assigned one or more sections of the canal to walk on a regular basis, monitoring the status of historic structures, checking facilities, reporting any problems to NPS, and removing trash. Read more...

Painting the boat at Great Falls

VIP session to paint the canal boat
at Great Falls in 2012

Volunteers-In-Parks (VIP) Work Sessions

The C&O Canal Association organizes work parties as part of the National Park Serviceís VIP program. Groups of volunteers provide direct, hands-on assistance to the canal park through such tasks as painting, repair work, painting fences, installing interpretive signs, and trail maintenance. You need not be a C&OCA member to participate. For information about the VIP program, contact Jim Heins (301-949-3518) or Skip Magee (301-249-5607) or email vip@candocanal.org.

Help Fight Garlic Mustard

C&O Canal Association has formally accepted the challenge to stop the spread of the invasive garlic mustard plant into the C&O Canal National Historical Park. Garlic mustard is a classic alien, nonnative invasive plant. It can overwhelm the habitats upon which native plants and animals depend. Eradication in any particular will require a multi-year commitment. Read more...

If you are interested in helping, please contact Jim Heins (vip@candocanal.org or 301-949-3518) or Steve Dean (levelwalker@candocanal.org or 301-904-9068). The park service will train volunteers.

REplica canal boat at Cumberland

Replica canal boat at Cumberland

Guide canal boat visitors

For years volunteers have been helping staff The Cumberland replica canal boat during scheduled student tours for many years. Starting in 2015 the park is seeking volunteers to help staff the boat on summer weekends and thus have the boat open to the general public, For more information, contact Rita Knox (301-722-8226 or rita_knox@nps.gov).

Join Work Parties at Swain's Lock

C&O Canal Association is the Canal Steward for the Swains Lock campground and picnic areas as well as the area around the lockhouse (but not the house itself).  Periodic work parties give you the chance to work with like-minded individuals to help maintain the site. For information, contact Pat White (hikemaster@candocanal.org or 301-977-5628). For background information, see news article...

Trails & Rails logoEducate Amtrak Passengers

During summer 2012, volunteers began riding Amtrak's Capitol Limited between Cumberland and Washington to provide narration for passengers about the history of the canal, the railroad, and the Potomac Valley. Trails & Rails is a partnership program between the National Park Service and Amtrak. For more information, contact Rita Knox (301-722-8226 or rita_knox@nps.gov).

Join the Bike Patrol

Members of this NPS program are volunteers who ride the towpath, assisting rangers and visitors by providing: information on the Park resources and safety; regulation reminders; first aid; and emergency bicycle repairs. If you love cycling and the outdoors, this may be for you. For information, contact:

To get an application, visit the NPS website...

Become a Canal Boat Crew Member at Great Falls

These NPS volunteers will operate historic lift locks, handle and steer canal boats, and help visitors understand the canalís history. This is a wonderful opportunity to get involved in making the past come alive. Training is provided. Volunteers are asked to commit to one day a week to keep their skills sharp. For more information or to volunteer, contact Rebecca Jameson (301-767-3709 or Rebecca_Jameson@nps.gov).

Wanted: Outgoing People Interested in Sharing C&O Canal History

The C&O Canal National Historical Park is looking for volunteers to help staff buildings at Great Falls, Brunswick, Ferry Hill, Williamsport, Hancock, and Cumberland. Volunteers engage visitors, answer questions, provide park and area information, and help with bookstore sales.

For more information please contact


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