The C&O Canal is resuming their annual Volunteer Appreciation Picnics this year after a year off due to COVID 19. These are excellent opportunities to meet park staff and your fellow volunteers. The announcement from the park volunteer manager, Emily Hewitt, follows. Please contact the park per below for more information or to make reservations. Note – there is not a set alignment of which picnic you should go to related to your level location – pick the location and time that is most convenient for you.
We are excited to announce that we will be hosting Volunteer Appreciation Picnics this year! There will be two locations, one for the east district and one for the west district. Please see details below and RSVP. Thank you!
Here is the latest guidance from the National Park Service on mask use on federal lands.
The Department of Interior (DOI) has updated the guidance for mask usage. This update is relevant to park volunteers as well as federal employees. Those who are fully vaccinated (at least 2 weeks past the final dose) are no longer required to wear a mask in federal buildings and on federal lands. See the full guidance in the forwarded email below.
DOI has not provided updated guidance to physical distancing requirements, so please continue to maintain physical distance from those outside your household while volunteering in the park. We will update you on any changes as we receive more information from DOI.
Please note that even if fully vaccinated you are welcome to continue masking at your own discretion, but it is no longer a requirement for vaccinated individuals. It is the park’s priority to maintain the safety of our volunteers, staff, partners, and visitors. Please let your park staff program supervisor know if you have any questions about this new guidance.
Thank you and stay well, Emily Durán Hewitt
Volunteer Program Manager C&O Canal National Historical Park
Consistent with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s May 13 announcement regarding updated Interim Public Health Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People, fully vaccinated federal employees, fully vaccinated onsite contractors, and fully vaccinated visitors to federal buildings and federal lands are no longer required to wear masks.
For now, this change related to masking is the only change to federal workplace COVID-19 safety guidance – maximum telework and workplace occupancy limits remain in place – but we will continue to update based on public health guidance.
To clarify what this announcement means for individuals:
If you are fully vaccinated (at least 2 weeks past your final dose), you are no longer required to wear a mask.
If you are not fully vaccinated (less than 2 weeks past your final dose), please continue to wear a mask consistent with the requirements set forth in the DOI Workplace Safety Plan.
These changes are consistent with Executive Order 13991 on Protecting the Federal Workforce and Requiring Mask-Wearing, which charged federal agencies to “require compliance with CDC guidelines with respect to wearing masks” and with OMB memorandum M-21-15, which noted in its guidance on face masks that “agencies may provide for exceptions consistent with CDC guidelines.”
The Department will be updating its Workplace Safety Plan and related documents to reflect these changes. If you have any questions, please contact your servicing Human Resources Office.
Rachael S. Taylor
Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary-Policy, Management and Budget
Dear Volunteers, I am starting a fun little project to celebrate the park’s 50th anniversary. I would like to collect a photo of each milepost with a dog next to it. Some of the photos will be highlighted on social media with a fun fact about the area during this 50th anniversary year. All photos will be posted in an album. If you would like to participate, please email me by April 16th and let me know which milepost you would like to claim. Then send me a photo of your dog next to that milepost in the next couple of months. For your reference, the following mileposts have already been claimed: 0, 10 ,11, 20, 21, 51, 74, 99, 100, 104, 121, 126, 167, and 184.5 By submitting a photo, you agree to have your dog featured on the park’s social media. Please let me know if you have any questions. Thanks!
Emily Durán Hewitt, Volunteer Program Manager, C&O Canal National Historical Park
Happy Spring! Here is an update from the C&O Canal NHP Volunteer Manager.
Thanks for your support!
It is wonderful to see the start of spring. If you are out in the park and get some nice photos, please remember to submit them for the 2022 C&O Canal calendar. Photos can be emailed directly to firstname.lastname@example.org or shared via the Gmail drive to the same email.
With the nicer weather, Great Falls Tavern has expanded pop-up table hours to Friday through Sunday, and Williamsport will be operating a pop-up table on Saturdays & Sundays beginning April 3rd.
Finally, please help spread the word. The park has an immediate opening for volunteer camp host at our Antietam Creek campground. This opportunity is available for the 2021 season. Required schedule is 32 hours/week. R/V pad with hook-ups is provided. More information and an application can be found at this link – Volunteer Opportunity Detail
The following request is forwarded on behalf of our VIP chair, Jim Heins. Jim is asking for your help to identify broken tables on your level, or anywhere else on the park. Please help Jim by reporting damaged tables per his request below.
The C&O Canal Association will be refurbishing picnic tables throughout the park. Although there are a number of groups and ways to get them repainted, the Association plans to replace any boards that are rotting, broken or otherwise damaged that make them unserviceable.
We need help in identifying those tables in need of some TLC. To help us, we ask that, if you find any table that appears to fit this need, that you do the following:
1. Take a picture of the area of need up close enough for us to assess the degree of the problem.
2. Step back and take a second picture which would encompass the entire table which might show additional problems.
3. Note whether it is a 6 foot or 8 foot table (most are 6) – we need to know what size boards to use.
4. Accurately describe the location so we can easily find the problem table.
Dear Volunteers, Spring is ahead of us and the park is getting busier. Staff would like to take this opportunity to remind you that, while our volunteer team is very knowledgeable, we do not expect our volunteers to know everything under the sun. If you are volunteering in the park and a visitor asks you a lot of questions you do not have the answer to about a specific topic, please feel free to refer them to either the park’s main phone line (301-739-4200) or to the park information email (email@example.com). If you have questions, please always feel free to reach out to your program supervisor. It is time to submit photos for the 2022 C&O Canal calendar! Photos of all parts of the park, through all four seasons will be included in the calendar. So if you have photos of historic structures, flora/fauna, visitors, volunteers, or just about anything else in the park, please submit them! Once again this year, we ask that you submit your photos via Google Drive firstname.lastname@example.org. To do this, compose an email and hover your mouse over the plus sign next to the attachments, click on the drive icon (resembles recycling logo), upload the photos you would like to share, and send to email@example.com. If you have any issues with this, please feel free to attach photos to a standard email sent to the same email address. Please label your photo files with the location and name of photographer. – For example: BigSlackwater_Jane_Doe. The deadline for submission is Friday, May 7th, 2021. If your photograph is selected, you will be contacted and credited in the calendar. Thanks! Emily Durán Hewitt
Please observe the following guidance from the C&O Canal NHP volunteer manager.
Dear Volunteers, The forecast is for more snow! With the wintry weather starting overnight, the volunteer program is suspended on Thursday, February 18. The park will be open to the public, but volunteers are not authorized to work in the park. This is to ensure your safety during the inclement weather event. All staff in the division of Interpretation, Education, and Volunteers will be teleworking and only emergency staff will be onsite. If you choose to visit the park on Thursday, February 18 you must do so as a private citizen. For updates on park closures please check the park website or the park Facebook page.
There is a winter storm warning in our area through tomorrow morning. All volunteers should exercise caution if visiting the park tomorrow. If you plan to volunteer in the Great Falls area of the park, please note that the entrance road will be closed in the morning until staff can clear it. We will notify Palisades volunteers tomorrow when the entrance road reopens. You can also check the park Facebook page for updates.
Please note that the Presidents Day holiday is this coming Monday, February 15. Our 2021 C&O calendar has the wrong date of 2/22 listed for the holiday. Sorry for the confusion. We still have 2021 calendars available, so please let staff know if you would like one.
As you know this year is the 50th anniversary of the C&O Canal National Historical Park. In case you missed it, we released a new video celebrating the park – Chesapeake & Ohio Canal NHP 50th Anniversary. Stay tuned for more information on how to celebrate our 50th Anniversary with a series of #50for50″ challenges in 2021!
The following National Park Service.information is passed on from Emily Hewitt, the C&O Canal NHP Volunteer program manager.
Thanks for your support!
On January 20, 2021, President Biden signed Executive Order No. 13991. To protect the health of those who live, work, and visit our national parks and facilities, and in support of the President’s Executive Order on Protecting the Federal Workforce and Requiring Mask-Wearing, face masks are now required in all National Park Service (NPS) buildings and facilities. Masks are also required on NPS-managed lands when physical distancing cannot be maintained, including narrow or busy trails, overlooks, and historic homes. This mask requirement includes NPS volunteers, staff, contractors, and the general public. Masks are not a replacement for physical distancing. Please continue to maintain at least 6 feet of distance between you and those not in your household while volunteering.
When they are required (inside park facilities and outside when physical distancing is not possible) masks must cover the nose and mouth and meet CDC and OSHA guidance. For employees and volunteers, Department of Interior (DOI) will not allow novelty/non-protective masks, masks with ventilation valves, face shields as a substitute for masks, or masks with messages or graphics that DOI prohibits.
The NPS and the park will continue to provide information to the public and our volunteers as new guidance comes out. The park has already shared NPS messaging on our Facebook page and the NPS issued a news release. The park will also be posting signs in key locations. Please remember that a volunteer’s role is NOT to enforce regulations. It is acceptable to politely inform a visitor one time that masks are now required in national parks when physical distancing is not possible, but if a visitor does not comply, prioritize your own safety by maintaining physical distance and moving away from the individual. Again, volunteers are not authorized to enforce regulations.
Please let us know if you have any questions. Thank you for your service to the park, and please stay safe.
The following notification is from the National Park Service regarding the canal crossover bridge in Hancock at Mile 124.38.
HANCOCK, Md. — Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park has replaced the bridge span at Little Tonoloway Day Use and Recreation Area and will reopen the crossing over the canal to traffic in the afternoon on Friday, Jan. 15.
The bridge had been closed to vehicle traffic since Nov. 2019 when engineers discovered that its beams were severely corroded during a routine inspection. The National Park Service (NPS) had been planning to replace the bridge and we worked with the Federal Highway Administration to do the work sooner than originally scheduled.
In order to finish this project, the NPS will return to repave the bridge’s approaches when there is warmer weather. When that work happens, the Little Tonoloway Day Use and Recreation Area restrooms and picnic area will remain open, but the boat ramp will be temporarily inaccessible via vehicles.