C&O Canal Updates

Hello Level Walkers,

Some park updates from the C&O Canal volunteer manager follow.

Thanks, Steve

Dear Volunteers, 

At our Virtual Volunteer Appreciation Event, we received questions about the topics below that may be of interest to some of you. If you have further questions, please reach out to your park staff program coordinator. 

  • Update on towpath resurfacing schedule – The towpath resurfacing currently in progress is from Lock 38/Ferry Hill (Mile 72.5) to Big Slackwater (Mile 86.7). The next phase of resurfacing will be from Spring Gap (Mile 173) to Cumberland (Mile 184.5)
  • Update on hazardous tree removal along the towpath – The following areas of the park currently have open contracts for hazardous tree removal:
    • Miles 5 – 10.5
    • Palisades trails including Billy Goat & Gold Mine, and Great Falls Tavern area
    • Miles 30.84 – 39.63
    • Miles 64.8 – 72.8
    • Miles 106 – 117
    • Miles 173 – 184
  • Update on reopening of visitor centers – Visitor centers in the park will tentatively open in 2022 pending the status of community transmission levels of COVID-19. There will be COVID-19 mitigation strategies in place when they reopen.
  • Update on location of the Williamsport visitor center – Planning is underway to rehab the Cushwa Warehouse and the Trolley Barn to improve the visitor experience at both. The location of the VC will continue to be the Cushwa Warehouse until improvements are made to the Trolley Barn in the future. 
  • Update on the low water passage at the washout at MM 52.5 – At the low water crossing for culvert 82, the park has an inter-agency agreement with eastern federal lands federal highway administration to bundle a new bridge up on the towpath with three other bridges in the park. That design is moving forward and will result in construction.
  • Update on log wall and the water level at Widewater – Widewater is currently drawn down to lower levels to avoid the canal filling up near the log wall. This is the high dry laid stone wall that has exhibited multiple sinkholes forming since December 2015. The water along level 14, approximately 4 miles long, needs to be lowered to mitigate the further formation of the sinkholes. The same wall, just upstream of Carderock, near mile marker 11 is currently being progressed forward for construction. The design is expected to be completed early next calendar year, with construction to follow. Construction would not be until late calendar year 2023 or perhaps a little later.
  • Update on desilting the canal between Great Falls and Violettes Lock – This project is planned to take place in the winter of FY23. 

Emily Durán Hewitt