C&O Canal Notices

Hello Level Walkers,

Two notices from the NPS follow.

Dear Volunteers, 

This year we are moving from the virtual VIP Speaker Series presentations to in-person resource knowledge building field trips. We will offer a variety of learning opportunities at locations across the park. Here is information about the first opportunity – 

VIP Speaker Series – C&O Canal NHP Museum Collection

DATE: March 30, 2023

TIME: 11am

LOCATION: Park Headquarters in Williamsport

DESCRIPTION: Museum Curator, Blyth McManus, will host a presentation about the park’s museum collection. Blyth will provide a brief history of the collection and talk about how the park manages it. Blyth will have a few objects from the C&O Canal on-hand to show and talk about what we can learn from them. 

Volunteers can also sign up to take a tour of the new park headquarters facility before the presentation. 

TO SIGN-UP: This opportunity is limited to 10 volunteers from each district (west, middle, and east) and you must sign-up to attend. Please email emily_hewitt@nps.gov noting your volunteer program and the area of the park where you volunteer. Also indicate whether you would like to take a tour of headquarters. 

DEADLINE: You must email by March 15 to sign-up. 


Emily Durán Hewitt

Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park 

News Release 

For Immediate Release: February 23, 2023 

Park Contact: Christiana Hanson, 301-491-6265, Christiana_Hanson@nps.gov 

NPS to Repair Level 33 Stone Wall along the C&O Canal 

Construction will require closure of part of Harpers Ferry Road beginning March 20.

33 Dry-Laid Stone Wall Repair Project Detour Map 

WILLIAMSPORT, Md.— The National Park Service (NPS) will begin construction on the Level 33 dry-laid stone wall just across the Potomac River from Harpers Ferry, WV this March. The wall shows significant signs of instability and stone loss, causing distress and unsafe conditions on the supported public roadway. Repair of the wall will include disassembling the existing stone wall, re-assembling the wall and restoring the roadway. This work will stabilize the area to meet current engineering standards and ensure safety to the local community that utilizes the road. The Level 33 wall is located at Mile Marker 61.5 of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, between locks 33 and 34.

During construction, the NPS will close Harpers Ferry Road between Hoffmaster Road and the school bus turnaround on Sandy Hook Road on March 20 (weather dependent) to public vehicles. A detour will be available along alternate public roadways – the same detour that was used during the previous Harpers Ferry Road slope stabilization project.  

After a portion of the wall is disassembled, the NPS will use concrete backfill behind the wall to establish a single travel lane to facilitate passage for critical emergency management services and first responders, which will be available for use in early Summer 2023. At the end of the project, the pavement and guardrails along Harper’s Ferry Road will be replaced and the road will be reopened to the public. 

The towpath will remain open during this project.


Preserving America’s early transportation history, the C&O Canal began as a dream of passage to Western wealth. Operating for nearly 100 years the canal was a lifeline for communities along the Potomac River as coal, lumber, and agricultural products floated down the waterway to market. Today it endures as a pathway for discovering historical, natural, and recreational treasures. Learn more at www.nps.gov/choh.  

Volunteer Meeting Notes

Hello Level Walkers,

The following notes are from the 8 February Volunteer meeting.

Thanks for your support! – Steve

Dear Volunteers, 

On February 8, we held our 1st quarterly volunteer call. Hopefully some of you were able to make it, but for those who could not attend, here are some updates that Christiana provided. I have also attached the organizational chart for the division of Interpretation, Education, and Volunteers, since we have some new staff members. If you have questions about park operations, please contact me.

  • The park recently kicked off the process of creating a Development Concept Plan (DCP) for the Great Falls area. This will be a lengthy process and there will be a time in the future for community input. We will update volunteers as the process continues. 
  • The park is finalizing a Detail to fill the Great Falls Interpretive Supervisor (the position previously held by Pete Peterson who has retired).  We anticipate this 120-day detail will start this spring and be here through the summer. We are working with HR to advertise this position in order to find a long-term new supervisor. 
  • Education Interns – we have 2-3 interns who will come on in late February/early March to support the park’s K-12 school program. 
  • Interpretation Interns – we are currently hiring five 6-month interns and three year-long interns to support interpretive programs.  Interns will work out of Great Falls, Williamsport, and Cumberland and help with things like boat programs, Visitor Center operations, and public programs.
  • Georgetown’s outdoor visitor services have paused until spring and the VC is still under construction. 
  • Great Falls VC is open 5 days a week.  
  • Williamsport and Cumberland VCs are closed until March 4th.  They will reopen on Saturdays and Sundays. We are increasing staffing with interns and volunteers and will expand hours as staffing capacity increases. 
  • The Brunswick Heritage Museum (the park VC is housed inside the museum) is closed until March 18th.
  • The park continues working with local stakeholders to stand up visitor center operations in Hancock. 
  • Upcoming interpretive programming includes the FY23 season for the boats in Williamsport, Great Falls, and Georgetown (operated through our partner Georgetown Heritage), angler programs throughout the park, bike safety-focused programs, lock demonstrations, Meet the Mules programs, the Trails and Rails program, and many more!  Keep an eye on the park calendar for the latest schedule.   
  • For maintenance project updates, keep an eye on the Park Project page or the park’s social media accounts.  You can follow the park on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/chesapeakeandohiocanal  

Thank you, 

Emily Durán Hewitt

January 2023 Level Walker Update

Hello Level Walkers,

It has come to my attention that the email distribution of this didn’t get to everyone on the first submission – so here it is again. I apologize for any duplication.

I hope 2023 is off to a great start for you! Like you, I am looking forward to another year of supporting the park.

One of my duties as the level walker chairperson is to monitor compliance with NPS and C&O Canal Association policies. For the NPS policies, I need to ensure that you are up-to-date on any NPS training and job requirements and have a current Volunteer Service Agreement on file. All current volunteers have completed the training/job requirements. The VSAs that were submitted in 2022 or later are still valid. At the present time I have not been informed of a need to update them for 2023. If you missed doing an updated VSA in 2022 I will be checking with you.

The Association requires level walker program participants to be current members and to submit at least one level walk report per year. I will review membership status and level walker activity in February. If your membership has lapsed and/or I have not received a recent report from you I will be in touch to determine if you want to remain in the program.

The NPS will have an all-volunteer call on February 8 as noted in the following announcement. You may note that the level walker program is not directly called out in the Volunteer Program Action Plan. The program is directly managed by the C&O Canal Association, although we are expected to comply with NPS training, certification and regulatory requirements. I coordinate management and reporting of the level walker program directly with the NPS volunteer manager at headquarters.

Thanks for your support! – Steve

Dear Volunteers, 

Happy new year! In 2023, we are holding quarterly all-volunteer calls to provide you with information and updates about the park. We started these virtual meetings because of the pandemic, but have found that it is a great way to connect with volunteers across the park at one time. 

Our 1st quarterly call is scheduled for Wednesday, February 8 from 11:30am-12:45pm and will be held on Microsoft Teams. There is a phone call-in option if you cannot join via computer.

During the call, our staff will introduce themselves and there are many new faces! We will review theVolunteer Program Action Plan and make sure volunteers know what to expect in FY23. Christiana Hanson, Chief of IEV, will be on hand to answer questions. Please try to get into the meeting 5-10 minutes early to allow for any troubleshooting or issues. 

Thanks, and we look forward to “seeing” you on February 8.


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