C&O Canal Update – June 24, 2020

Hello Level Walkers,

Here is the latest park update.

Thanks, Steve

Dear Volunteers,
Park staff continue to work hard to bring operations back online. Status as follows:
  • The 5 drive-to campgrounds are now fully open. Campsites must be reserved through http://www.recreation.gov
  • Hiker-biker campsites from Horsepen Branch to Evitts Creek are open.
  • Swains Lock campsites remain closed.
  • Carderock Pavilion is closed and not available for reservations at this time.
  • The digital pass for Great Falls is now available. A 7 day or annual pass for Great Falls can be purchased by clicking HERE.
  • Visit the park website for complete details on current park conditions.
These days canawlers and railroad enthusiasts get along pretty well. The park even participates in the Trails & Rails program on Amtrak when there isn’t a pandemic. As we all know, however, the canal and the railroad were not always friends. This week Claire has put together the attached article that explores the transportation legacy of the C&O Canal and B&O Railroad. Exploring Transportation Legacy Also, if you have any young railroad enthusiasts in your circle, there is a new Railroad Explorer Junior Ranger booklet that they may enjoy.
Stay well!
Emily H. Hewitt

Image – Doe Gully Western Maryland Railway Bridge – Level 53

C&O Canal Update – June 17, 2020

Hello Level Walkers,
I hope this finds you well.
Here is the latest update from the park!

Dear Volunteers,
As of today, the fee booth at Great Falls has reopened. For visitor and staff safety, the park is switching to a policy of credit/debit/contactless payment only, i.e NO CASH. The fee booth can take the NFC (Near Field Communications) technology, i.e. Apple Pay, Google Pay etc. Or if you have a newer credit card the chip will communicate with the reader without having to be inserted. The park will also have a digital pass deploying via Recreation.gov starting tomorrow. This program was formerly called YourPassNow, but has now been folded into Recreation.gov for simplicity.  It will allow you to have a 7 day pass or a CHOH Annual pass on the Recreation.gov app on your phone. Please continue to check the park website for operations updates.
Hopefully you’ve been able to get outside and enjoy the beautiful weather we’ve been having. I have noticed a lot of activity around my garden this week. See Cheyenne’s attached article about pollinators to learn what all the buzz is about!  Pollinator Volunteer Engagement Article
As always, if you get out to enjoy our public lands, please remember to recreate responsibly. And stay well!
Emily H. Hewitt

Image – Hummingbird moth on thistle – Level 42

C&O Canal Update – June 10, 2020

Hello Volunteers!

Here is the latest update from the park.

Best regards, Steve

Dear Volunteers,
Here are the latest updates on park status –
  1. The Great Falls entrance road is open.
  2. Great Falls, Carderock, and Fletchers Cove parking is open.
  3. All of the public restrooms in the Palisades District are now open.
    1. Great Falls Maryland
    2. Anglers
    3. Carderock East
    4. Carderock West
    5. Fletcher’s Cove
  4. As of 6/10, well pumps are beginning to be opened. Well pumps in Frederick, Washington, and Allegeny Counties should be fully operational by 6/20.
  5. Drinking fountains in Palisades will remain off until further notice.
For a complete list of alerts, please visit the park website.
In other news, do you know what malacology is? To find out, see Claire’s attached article for a fun natural resource lesson! If you spot any creatures that fit in that category, send us a photo. Claire would be thrilled! Snail Discoveries
Please stay well, and if you visit the park remember to stay safe and practice social distancing.
Emily H. Hewitt
6 ft bicycle

Image – Snail on Towpath near Culvert 71 – 1 April, 2017 – Level 17

C&O Canal Volunteer Update – June 3, 2020

Hello Level Walkers! … Here’s this week’s update from the park’s volunteer office.


Dear Volunteers,
This Saturday is National Trails Day! It is typically a day each year to celebrate the benefits of trails in public lands across the country.  Although we cannot do our volunteer projects to celebrate National Trails Day this year, we would still like to highlight our beautiful towpath and the many wonderful trails that our local public lands afford us. Please see Cheyenne’s attached write-up about our trails (including an ice cream trail!) and National Trails Day. National Trails Day Volunteer Communications
If you have been along the towpath in the last several months, you may have noticed that our iconic mileposts received some much needed attention. Volunteers Jim Tomlin, Meredith Matczak, and Mike Bucci painstakingly scraped, cleaned, and painted all of the mileposts along the towpath. To learn more about the history of the iconic mileposts, see Claire’s attached article “Tracing Towpath Mileposts Across Time.” Tracing Towpath Mileposts Across Time (1)
Although we all love this park and want to get back to helping take care of it, the volunteer program continues to be suspended until further notice. If you get out in the park this National Trails Day, you need to do so as a private citizen. Thank you for your patience as the park works to assess and mitigate risk. We will keep you informed as the park moves forward with adaptive recovery of operations and programs.
Please stay safe and stay well!
Emily H. Hewitt