Levels Going to the Dogs?

Hello Level Walkers,

Here’s a fun request! Many of you report to me that you level walk with your faithful canine friend.  Let’s give credit where credit is due – if you level walk with your dog on a regular basis, let me know. I would like to highlight level walker dogs in the next Along the Towpath issue.  Let me know the name, breed, and whatever else you might want to share.  Send a photo if you have it!

Now – I am a cat guy (sorry about that, dog lovers). I haven’t the nerve to listen to a prolonged yowl from my home in Southern Maryland to Hancock, but if any of you have ever braved the towpath with a cat on a leash or in a tow behind carrier (I’ve seen it) – I’d love to hear about that too! (and your feline friend will get a bag of treats with my compliments.)

Thanks for being great volunteers and supporting our amazing park!


Above photo – Little Pool, nr Hancock Md. – Level 47 – July 10, 2010

July 29th Volunteers-In-Parks Speaker Series – Canal Photography

This is the next event in the continuing VIP speaker series that the NPS hosts. I can assure you the weather won’t be as shown in the photo! (Taken during the Heritage Hike/Halloween snow Oct. 29, 2011) – LWC

On July 29th from 10 am to 12 pm Steve Dean will be having a photography walk/talk in Hancock. It will begin with a discussion at the Bowles House followed by a 2-mile round trip walk to Culvert 179. Opportunities for photographing two locks and some excellent towpath perspectives will be provided along the walk. Participants are encouraged to submit questions in advance and provide the make and model of the camera to Steve, cando.culverts@comcast.net. All camera types are welcome from iPhones to single lens reflex cameras; participants without a camera are also welcome! Steve will be available at the visitor center for an hour before the event for anyone who wants to show up early for some preliminary questions or discussions.

The program is free and space is limited to the first 12 guests. If you would like to attend, please RSVP with your name and how many will be in your party to Kelsey Smith, kelsey_smith@nps.gov. The Bowles House is located at 439 East Main St, Hancock, MD 21750.


Above photo – Bowles House, Hancock Md. – Level 47 – October 29, 2011

Congressionally Mandated Senior Pass Price Increase to Take Effect on August 28

Hello Level Walkers,

I have some items of interest to pass on to you from the National Park Service. Because of the length of the items I am splitting these up in to separate blogs.  This one is of particular interest if you are over 62 and have not gotten your lifetime National Park pass yet. – LWC


WASHINGTON – In order to meet requirements set by legislation passed by Congress in December 2016, the price of the America the Beautiful – National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Senior Pass will increase from $10 to $80. The change will take effect August 28, 2017. Pass holders are given lifetime access to more than 2,000 sites and parks. The fee increase will support critical investments in maintenance projects at national parks and federal recreational lands nationwide.

The Senior Pass has cost $10 since 1994. Until August 28, U.S. citizens and permanent residents who are 62 years or older can purchase the lifetime Senior Pass for $10. Previously purchased lifetime Golden Age or Senior Passes will be honored for the lifetime of the pass holder.

The Senior Pass can be used at sites managed by the National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the Bureau of Reclamation, the U.S. Forest Service, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Funds from passes are used to enhance the visitor experience and support priority projects and programs.

The pass can be purchased for $10 before August 28 at a national park or other Federal recreation area that charges an entrance or standard amenity (day use) fee. The pass can also be obtained by mail or on line, for $10 before August 28 but there will be an additional $10 charge for processing, for a total of $20. Due to expected high order volume, there could be delays with online and mail order processing of up to several months.

The legislation requires that the price of the lifetime Senior Pass be the same as the Interagency Annual Pass, which is currently $80. The legislation also introduces a new annual Senior Pass that can be purchased for $20. Seniors who purchase annual Senior Passes for four years can trade them in for a lifetime Senior Pass at no additional charge.

The Senior Pass covers all entrance fees and standard amenity (day use) fees and may provide senior discounts for things such as tours or campsites. The pass also waives the entrance fee for traveling companions. At per-vehicle fee sites, the pass admits the pass holder and all passengers in a noncommercial vehicle. At a per-person fee site, the pass admits the pass holder and three other adults. Children under 16 are always admitted free.


Above photo – Culvert 116, Marsh Run – Levels 31/32 – June 17, 2017

Update on the Conococheague Aqueduct and Other Notes

Hello Level Walkers!

I have a few notes of interest for you from the National Park Service. As always, visit the park’s website at www.nps.gov/choh or Facebook at chesapeakeandohiocanal for up-to-date information.

Construction on the Conococheague Aqueduct restoration project is anticipated to begin in late July 2017 and extend approximately 18 months, weather dependent, until December 2018. During this time visitors will be unable to travel over the aqueduct and through the construction area, and will be directed onto a 1.1 mile long detour route around the Conococheague Aqueduct. The upstream end of the detour departs from the towpath near milepost 99.75, travels along Fenton Avenue, an alleyway, state Route 68, and U.S. Route 11 until rejoining the towpath near milepost 99.60 (directly adjacent to the Cushwa Basin). Prior to closure of the towpath, signage will be posted to clearly mark the detour route. The detour is outlined on the below map.

The Olmsted Island bridge crossing at Great Falls is anticipated to reopen on July 7.

Many of you have reported seeing acoustic monitoring devices at various points on the park. These devices are part of a study to monitor bat activity. They will be in place through this year and possibly later. If you notice any signs of damage to them please let me know; photos are helpful in that event. A report of the findings will be available after the study is completed.

The NPS is looking for some rescue help for some fish trapped in the canal under the Key Bridge in Georgetown. The rescue effort will take place on Thursday, July 6 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.  Interested volunteers should meet NPS staff at 10 a.m. near the Washington Canoe Club, at the end of Water Street N.W. Nets, buckets, waders/muck boots, and a water cooler will be available, but volunteers are encouraged to bring their own equipment if available.  Please RSVP to park biologist Andrew Landsman (andrew_landsman@nps.gov) if you are able to come. Andrew can also answer any questions you might have.

Thanks for all you do for the park!  Enjoy those summer walks; stay safe and remember to carry plenty of water.


Above photo – The Western Maryland Railway tunnels, including the Indigo Tunnel, are bat habitats and protected from human intrusion – Level 52

20170620 Conococheague Bypass Plan

Conococheague Aqueduct towpath bypass route – image courtesy of the National Park Service, C&O Canal National Historical Park