The C&O Canal NHP advises that, due to the lightened forecast of hurricane Florence, volunteer duties in the Park can resume as normal. Conditions are still not optimal and there are risks that should be considered if you choose to venture out on the towpath. As always, your efforts as level walkers are purely optional and you should consider the risks you may take out there. There will be plenty of time for level walks later, when conditions improve.
Check for the most up to date conditions, closures and safety warnings at http://go.nps.gov/choh_conditions or Facebook @chesapeakeandohiocanal before venturing out.
The following guidance is provided by the park safety officer outlining some things to look out for post storm.
- Due to the extremely wet spring and summer, the ground is completely saturated and does not have its normal ability to hold tree root balls in place. As a result, large and small trees are falling over without any wind or for any other reason.
- Avoid traveling under a tree canopy if you can.
- Do not stop or rest under trees that are leaning. These are more prone to falling over due to ground failure.
- Look for bulges in the ground around the base of trees. If you see a bulge, notify the park via the dispatch number 866-877-6677 or the hazard warning email CHOH_Hazards@nps.gov
- If the wind begins to pick up, get off the towpath and away from any trees.
- The towpath is very wet and some area may be covered with slippery mud due to recent flooding.
- If you are unfamiliar with the section of towpath, this is not the time to explore. If you must go, take an experienced person with you. Again, if you are unsure, stay off the towpath.
- Make sure someone is aware of your destination and is responsible for ensuring your safe return.