Hello Level Walkers,
As you know, persistent and heavy rains have occurred frequently over the last few weeks. This has created flood conditions on parts of the C&O Canal. Floods can create a number of issues in the park, and visitors are urged to take great care in the time after this and any future floods. Towpath instability is often not immediately apparent, and sink holes or collapses can occur in the period after flood conditions. The areas around culverts and bridges can be unstable, and often streams undermine the soil around their edges. The National Park Service responds as quickly as they can to assess and repair conditions, as well as to prepare alternate trails and markers, but this effort can take a great deal of time.
There is a significant breach on Mile 52, where Culvert 82 washed out. There may be other breaches or damage when this latest flood recedes. Please pay close attention to conditions and follow park regulations and warning signs. No level walk or photograph is worth risking your safety for.
When planning a trip on the canal, visitors should visit the park web site http://www.nps.gov/choh/index.htm or visit the park Facebook site @chesapeakeandohiocanal for the most up-to-date information. The park responds quickly to questions posted on Facebook. The park is the best source of information because third party sources may post inaccurate or out-dated information. Safety hazards can be reported by calling 866-677-6677 or by using the hazard reporting system http://www.nps.gov/choh/safetyhazardsreportingsystem.htm.
The NPS has advised of the following closures until further notice:
1. All boat ramps
2. All campsites (HBOs and Drive In)
3. All lockhouses
4. All through-riders, hiking and biking
5. Harpers Ferry has closed the pedestrian bridge over the Potomac River (Access to the Towpath and Appalachian Trail).
6. Many parts of the towpath are washed out or have breaches. Please use caution throughout the park.
7. And of course never, ever try to cross a flooded section.