Four Locks Tunnel Closure and Park Events

Hello Level Walkers!

Here are a few updates from the park about access and upcoming VIP Speaker Series events. Thanks, as always, for your support. – Steve

C&O Canal will temporarily close Four Locks Tunnel for needed repairs, June 10-13

Clear Spring, Md – Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park, in conjunction with Washington County Roads Department, will be repairing a major pot hole at the downstream end of the Four Locks boat ramp tunnel, located along the access road to the Four Locks parking lot and boat launch area. The repair will necessitate the closure of the Four Locks parking lot and boat ramp from June 10-13th  2019. This repair is necessary to preserve private and public property and prevent further damage. Property owners who use this access road will be provided other means of egress.  Check our website and Facebook page for additional updates: www.nps.gov/choh, www.facebook.com/chesapeakeandohiocanal.

VIP Speakers Series – Saturday, June 15, 2019 – Canal Quarters Tour: Lockhouse 25 at Edwards Ferry

From 10:00 a.m. until noon on Saturday the 15th, Don Streets and Linda Bergofsky will guide an open house tour of Lockhouse 25. Lockhouse 25 is situated at Edwards Ferry and serves as a Canal Quarters location that can be rented to public tenants for overnight stays. Not only do Don and Linda serve as caretakers of the historic site, but they bring its history to life through their own personal touches. Known to dress in homemade, period clothing, and lead interpretive tours of the space, they will craft an authentic setting and educational experience for this Speaker Series event. To reserve space(s) in this program, please email your headcount to chohvip@gmail.com. Space is limited to the first 15 sign-ups.

VIP Speakers Series – Saturday, June 29, 2019 – Oldtown Dragonfly Walk

Did you know? The C&O Canal has the most diverse population of odonates – dragonflies and damselflies – in the entire National Park Service! On Saturday, June 29th, join Steve Dean in Oldtown, Maryland from 10:00 a.m. until noon to learn more about these fascinating creatures, and what it is that draws them here. Participants will meet with Steve at Lock 70 and engage in a short informational discussion, before walk downstream for about 1½ miles, and then back. The talk and walk will take up to two hours. Bring comfortable walking shoes and water, as well as (if you have them): a dragonfly guide, camera, spotting scope and/or binoculars. A handout about dragonflies will be available. To RSVP for this program, please email your headcount to chohvip@gmail.com.


Above – Culvert 139 downstream arch at Four Locks; May 4, 2019; Levels 41/42

Below – Pondhawk (female) on wayside at Oldtown; June 30, 2018; Levels 62/63

Pondhawk

News and Upcoming Events

Hello Level Walkers!

Look for your Along the Towpath newsletters in mid-March. There’s a lot of good stuff in this issue.  While you’re waiting for Along the Towpath, check out the VIP Newsletter Winter 2019 produced by the park’s volunteer office.  It looks great, and will fill you in on the volunteer programs and staff.

The park recently released some updates about park events in the near future.  The updates follow. There are some great programs, consider checking them out!

Steve

Spring Events at C&O Canal National Historical Park

Spring is a wonderful time to explore the wonders of the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park (C&O Canal). Come for a visit and bike or walk the towpath, stop by a visitor center, enjoy the arrival of spring, or attend one of our special events. The park is open daily, and visitors are welcome to join rangers for the following special events and programs, March through May:

March 16 – Women’s History on the C&O Canal, 11:00-12:00, Great Falls Tavern, Potomac MD. Canal historian Karen Gray will discuss the vital role of women who worked on the C&O Canal.

March 16 – Music from the 19th Century, 12:30-3:00, Great Falls Tavern, Potomac MD. Join the Mountain Dulcimers of Northern Virginia for live music and try your hand at playing this unique instrument

April 13 – Celebrate the Potomac River, 10:00-3:00 Great Falls Tavern, Potomac, Md. Visit the Chesapeake Bay Roving Ranger Mobile Visitor Center. Learn how you can help maintain this beautiful area.

April 13 – Potomac River Watershed Cleanup, Various locations across the Park – Join the 31st Annual Potomac River Watershed Cleanup. Learn more and sign up: http://trashnetwork.fergusonfoundation.org

April 27 – Canal Pride Days, 9:00-1:00, Paw Paw Campsite, Oldtown, Md. Join the C&O Canal Trust for a day of service and fun. Space is limited! Learn more and sign up: www.canaltrust.org/programs/canal-pride-days.

May 4 – Canal Pride Days, 9:00-1:00, Great Falls, Potomac, Md. Join the C&O Canal Trust for a day of service and fun. Space is limited! Learn more and sign up: www.canaltrust.org/programs/canal-pride-days.

May 18 – Canal Pride Days, 9:00-1:00, Cushwa Basin, Williamsport, Md. Join the C&O Canal Trust for a day of service and fun. Space is limited! Learn more and sign up: www.canaltrust.org/programs/canal-pride-days.

May 25 – Williamsport Launch Boat Tours, Cushwa Basin, Williamsport, Md. These FREE 1-hour programs include riding in a historic replica canal launch boat from the Cushwa Basin to Lock 44 and back to the Cushwa Warehouse. Reservations are taken by phone at (301) 582-0813, 7 days in advance, starting May 18, 2019.

May 25 & 26 – Spring in the Park, 9:00-4:30, Great Falls Tavern, Potomac, Md. Outdoor activities include Leave No Trace Workshops and dog friendly Bark Ranger programs. Music by the National Capital Chapter of the Music Box Society International (Sunday only).

*The programs at Great Falls Tavern are free, but there is an entrance fee to the park of $15 per single vehicle.

C&O Canal Spring Visitor Center and Lockhouse Hours

Stop in one of our visitor centers to speak with a ranger or volunteer and learn about the park.

Abner Cloud House, 4940 Canal Road, NW, Washington, DC 20007, First Sunday Each Month 12:00 – 5:00 p.m.

Brunswick Visitor Center (301) 834-7100, 40 West Potomac St., Brunswick, MD 21716, Thurs. 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m., Fri. 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m., Sat. 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., Sun. 1:00 – 4:00 p.m.

Cumberland Visitor Center (301) 722-8226, Western Maryland Railway Station, 13 Canal St., Room 100, Cumberland, MD 21502, March – Open Daily 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., April – December – Open Daily 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.\

Great Falls Tavern Visitor Center (301) 767-3714, 11710 MacArthur Blvd., Potomac, MD 20854, Wed.-Sun. 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Hancock Visitor Center, 439 East Main Street,, Hancock, MD 21750, May 25 – September 1, 2019, Sat. and Sun., 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. staffing permitting

Lockhouse 24, Milemarker 22.8 (in Poolesville, Md.), Late April – early June, Sat. and Sun., 1:00 – 4:00 p.m.

Lockhouse 44, Milemarker 99.30 (in Williamsport, Md.), For hours of operation, call (301) 582-0813

Lockhouse 70, Milemarker 166.70 (in Oldtown, Md.), May 25 – September 29, 2019, Sat. and Sun., 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Lockhouse 75, Milemarker 175.60 (in Cumberland, Md.), May 25 – August 31, 2019, Sat., 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., staff permitting

Williamsport Visitor Center (301) 582-0813, 205 W. Potomac St., Williamsport, MD 21795, Wed.-Sun. 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.


Image – Make room for ducks! – Level 62, Oldtown – June 3, 2017

 

Upcoming C&O Canal National Historical Park Events

Hello Level Walkers!

We’ve had plenty of rain and heat, but summer has been relatively quiet as far as news. I do have a few updates to catch up with.

Annual Volunteer Dinners. The C&O Canal NHP is having their annual volunteer appreciation dinners in October. There are three dinners –

  • Cumberland on Wednesday, October 3rd at the Alleghany College of Maryland Continuing Education Building
  • Williamsport on Thursday, October 4th at the Barn at Springfield Farm
  • Great Falls on Thursday, October 11th at the Bumper Car Pavilion at Glen Echo Park

The dinners are from 5:45 to 9:00 p.m. Please email your RSVP to chohvip@gmail.com or call Claire Connor at (301) 745-5810. See the attached notice for further info.

These are great events for C&O Canal NHP volunteers to meet and mingle with park staff and your fellow volunteers. Normally I try to be at all three dinners to meet you, but this year I can only be at Great Falls.

Fall Events & Programs at C&O Canal National Historical Park. The park recently sent out a schedule of events.  These events are great opportunities to get out on the canal in the beautiful fall conditions we have and experience your park. Give a program or two a try!

September – Great Falls Tavern Visitor Center, Potomac, Md. Interpretive program schedule:

  • Meet the Mules, Thursdays and Sundays, 10 a.m. Meet one of our hard working canal mules and learn about their role in canal history.
  • Tavern Talk, Wednesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., Sunday 1 p.m. Hear stories about the tavern’s colorful history during this 30-minute presentation.
  • Boat Talk, Friday through Saturday, 12 p.m., Sunday 12 & 2 p.m. Join a park ranger aboard the Charles F. Mercer and learn about life on a canal boat during this 30-minute presentation.
  • Great Falls Walking Tour, Friday and Saturday 2 p.m., Sunday 3 p.m. Take a 1-hour walk along the towpath out to the mighty Great Falls on the Potomac and learn about the park’s natural and cultural history.
  • Living History Demonstration: “Eels, Turtles, and Blackberry Pie” every Sunday in September (weather permitting) 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Learn about the diet of those who lived and worked along the canal in the 19th century.

September & October – Williamsport Launch Boat Tours, Williamsport Visitor Center, Williamsport, Md. These FREE 1-hour programs include riding in a historic replica canal launch boat from the Cushwa Basin to Lock 44 and back to the Cushwa Warehouse. Tour times are Saturdays and Sundays, 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. Reservations are taken by phone at (301) 582-0813 or in-person, 7 days in advance, starting September 1, 2018.

September & October – Lockhouse 44 – Williamsport, Md., Saturdays and Sundays, 1:15-4:15 p.m. This historic lockhouse represents the life of locktenders in the early 20th century. Join a ranger to learn about life on the C&O Canal (staffing dependent).

September & October – Boat Replica Tours – Cumberland, Md., Fridays, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. The replica canal boat The Cumberland is open for touring. The full-sized replica cargo boat is located at Canal Place in downtown Cumberland, Md., near the Western Maryland Railway Station. Explore the mule stable, hay house, and captain’s cabin and learn about the life of the C&O canal boatmen (inclement weather cancels).\

September 1, 15, 22 & October 20 – Paw Paw Tunnel Tours – Paw Paw, W.Va., Saturdays, 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Meet a park ranger at the small open amphitheater at Paw Paw Campground for a brief formal talk followed by a guided tour through the Paw Paw Tunnel. Learn about the challenges of building the tunnel, the geology of the area, and how the current rock scaling and pinning project may help avert future rock slides. The park ranger will remain in the area between the tunnel and the amphitheater between programs.

September 2 & 16 – Bike Ride with a Ranger – Cumberland, Md., Sundays, 10 a.m. Meet a ranger at the Cumberland Visitor Center for a 10-mile round trip bike ride from the canal Terminus to Evitts Creek Aqueduct and back. Learn about the canal basins and boat yards and view the westernmost aqueduct on the canal in this 90-minute to two-hour ride.

September 7 – 9 – River and Rails Festival at Canal Place – Cumberland, Md. Family festival event at Canal Place to focus on planned Cumberland River Park. Celebrate the river, canal, and rails in the Queen City. Tours of the replica canal boat, talks, fishing for children, kayaks on the basin, music and food. For more information contact the Canal Place Authority at (301) 724-3655.

September 8, October 6, & November 3 – Dulcimer Music – Great Falls Tavern Visitor Center, Potomac, Md., 12:30 p.m. – 3 p.m. Join us for live music by the Mountain Dulcimers of Northern Virginia and try your hand at playing this unique instrument.

September 22 – Blacksmith Demonstration – Great Falls Tavern Visitor Center, Potomac, Md., 10:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. Learn about the art and science of blacksmithing during this demonstration. In the 19th century if something broke, you would probably call a blacksmith. Things were generally made to last; if it broke it was often repaired or re-purposed instead of being thrown out. Recycle and reuse was the attitude of the day.

September 29 – VIP Speaker Series – Lock 75, North Branch, Cumberland, Md., 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. Join photographer Steve Dean at the westernmost lock on the C&O Canal. Pick up some pointers from a talented photographer who has photographed the canal from every angle! Steve is an expert on the canal culverts and dragonflies, but also knows cameras! Join Steve to explore this beautiful section of towpath with an eye to capturing some good photos along the way.

September 29 – Bike Your Park Day – Various Locations throughout the park, all day. Enjoy the C&O Canal by cycling the towpath! Borrow a bike for free from the Williamsport or Great Falls Visitor Centers or join a ranger guided ride. Meet a ranger at the Little Tonoloway parking lot/boat ramp at 9:30 a.m. for a 16-mile ride or 9:30 a.m. for a 19-mile bike ride from the Terminus at Cumberland to Lock 75, North Branch, and back. Enjoy this C&O Canal bike adventure as fall gets underway!

September 29 & 30 – Living History Demonstrations with the 7th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry Regiment – Great Falls Tavern Visitor Center, Potomac Md., 11 a.m., 1:30 p.m., & 3 p.m. each day. Relive the year 1862, when the country was in the middle of the Civil War and a hostile border existed along the Potomac River. The park will host a Civil War living history weekend with these re-enactors. Visitors are invited to walk through their camp and learn about the history of the canal during the war.


Above  – It’s been a great summer for dragonflies. An Eastern Pondhawk (f) dines on a delicious fly for lunch. Level 16, August 25, 2018

Below – The announcement for the C&O Canal Volunteer Appreciation Dinners (Image – NPS)

VIP Dinner Flyer 2018 (1)

 

C&O Canal VIP Speaker Series

The C&O Canal NHP is continuing the popular VIP Speaker Series in 2018.  The first two events have been scheduled. The following announcements are from the C&O Canal NHP.

Join Steve Dean on January 27th at 2 p.m. in the Great Falls Tavern for his presentation on the C&O Canal’s historic aqueducts. Steve will cover each aqueduct and its interesting features, past and present restoration projects, and the role aqueducts played in canal operations. This program is limited to the first 20 guests, to RSVP, please contact Kelsey Smith, Assistant Volunteer Coordinator, at kelsey_smith@nps.gov or  mary_gentile@partner.nps.gov  (Note: if you miss the aqueduct presentation in January, it will be the program at the Association’s Fall Heritage Hike.)

On February 24th at 9 a.m. Jim Nelson, C&O Canal volunteer, will be leading a Great Backyard Bird Count in Great Falls. Join Jim at the Great Falls Tavern and then head out on a 2 1/2 mile walk along the towpath as you get to view some of the canal’s amazing birds. This program is in conjunction with the Audubon’s Great Backyard Bird Count, so there will be an opportunity to provide data to help researchers learn more about how birds are doing, and how to protect them. This program is limited to the first 20 people, to RSVP, send an email to mary_gentile@partner.nps.gov


Above – Tonoloway Creek Aqueduct, Level 47, November 16, 2017

Fall VIP Speaker Series Events

These announcements are for two upcoming events in the park’s VIP Speaker series. These are both great events worthy of your consideration.  Contact the park for further questions and to reserve a seat.

If you haven’t made a reservation for the Heritage Hike and still want to attend, or if you mailed in your reservation in the last few days (October 11-13), please contact me as soon as possible at programs@candocanal.org. There is still room for the dinner, but there are only a few bus seats left. – LWC


October Speaker Series

Paul Parish will present a program on colonial surveying on Saturday, October 28, 2017, beginning at 10 a.m. in the park’s education gathering space in Building D at 10 Howard Street, Canal Place, Cumberland.

Over the past 16 years, Mr. Parish has completed extensive research and training on colonial surveying. This program will describe surveying methods of the 18th century using original and replica surveying instruments as visual aids. Just as today, lands had to be surveyed and legally documented based on the various different types of land grants. Please join us to learn more about warrants, patents, land measurements, and the fees and costs involved.

Prior to Mr. Parish becoming a volunteer with the C&O Canal he was a captain of the Cumberland Fire Department. He has a love and passion for teaching others and has been presenting living history programs since 1975. Paul is currently volunteering with the canal’s Trails & Rails program on the Amtrak Capitol Limited and has also assisted with tours of the replica canal boat, The Cumberland.

Space for this program is limited to the first 30 participants. Please RSVP with your name and how many will be in your party. For more information or to RSVP, contact Kelsey Smith, assistant volunteer coordinator at kelsey_smith@nps.gov. For directions or additional information call the Cumberland Visitor Center at 301-722-8226.

November Speaker Series
 

Join Karen Gray, PhD, librarian and longtime park volunteer, on Saturday, November 4th at 2 pm at the Great Falls Tavern to learn more about the myths and truths of the 184.5 miles of the canal.

This exciting one-hour presentation will reveal the latest research and how it has changed our understanding of the canal’s operation and history. Gray will also suggest that there is continued value in the canal’s myths and stories that we have believed to be true for so long.

The program is free, but there is an entrance fee to the park of $10.00 per single vehicle. Space is limited to the first 25 guests. If you would like to attend this event, please RSVP with your name and how many will be in your party. For more information or to RSVP,  please contact Kelsey Smith, Assistant Volunteer Coordinator, at kelsey_smith@nps.gov. The Great Falls Tavern is located at 11710 MacArthur Blvd., Potomac, MD 20854.


Above – Approaching Cumberland, Level 69, October 24, 2015

VIP Speaker Series and Update on Volunteer Dinners

The following messages are from the National Park Service.  Further information is available from the indicated contact. – LWC


VIP Speaker Series –

Williamsport, MD – Have you wondered what it is that a Park Ranger does? Join us Saturday, September 23rd at 2:00 p.m. in the Trolley Barn at Cushwa Basin to hear about the crazy and wild adventures of retired C&O Canal National Historical Park, Park Ranger Mike Barnhart.

Mike has had an extensive 33 year career with the National Park Service and in that time he has traveled the world. Some of his special assignments sent him to the Winter Olympics, to South Africa’s International Ranger programs and to the west to fight wildfires. Mike could not stay away from the Park Ranger life too long, as he is now a volunteer at Cushwa Basin.

This exciting one-hour presentation will leave you on the edge of your seats wanting to learn more about the life of a Park Ranger. So please come ready to listen and come with questions to ask longtime friend, co-worker and supporter of the C&O Canal National Historical Park, Mike Barnhart.

The program is free and space is limited to the first 40 guests. If you would like to attend this event, please RSVP with your name and how many will be in your party. For more information or to RSVP, please contact Kelsey Smith, Assistant Volunteer Coordinator, at chohvip@gmail.com. Cushwa Basin is located at 205 W. Potomac St. Williamsport, MD 21795

Volunteer Appreciation Dinners –

This is a reminder that if you haven’t registered for the Volunteer Appreciation Dinners and plan to, you should do it soon.  The RSVP date is September 28th. See my August 15th post for further info.

Also – the dinners will include a dessert contest this year! The contest is limited to 25 people for Great Falls, and 15 for each Cumberland and Williamsport. If you want to participate, please contact per below and indicate what kind of dessert you plan to bring.

If you would like to attend one of the dinners or bring a dessert, please email chohvip@gmail.com or call 301-745-5810, and include which dinner you plan to attend and how many guests are in your party. Also let them know which program(s) you are with.

I hope to see some of you there!


Photo – Ferry Hill, Levels 27 & 28, September 7, 2017

July 29th Volunteers-In-Parks Speaker Series – Canal Photography

This is the next event in the continuing VIP speaker series that the NPS hosts. I can assure you the weather won’t be as shown in the photo! (Taken during the Heritage Hike/Halloween snow Oct. 29, 2011) – LWC

On July 29th from 10 am to 12 pm Steve Dean will be having a photography walk/talk in Hancock. It will begin with a discussion at the Bowles House followed by a 2-mile round trip walk to Culvert 179. Opportunities for photographing two locks and some excellent towpath perspectives will be provided along the walk. Participants are encouraged to submit questions in advance and provide the make and model of the camera to Steve, cando.culverts@comcast.net. All camera types are welcome from iPhones to single lens reflex cameras; participants without a camera are also welcome! Steve will be available at the visitor center for an hour before the event for anyone who wants to show up early for some preliminary questions or discussions.

The program is free and space is limited to the first 12 guests. If you would like to attend, please RSVP with your name and how many will be in your party to Kelsey Smith, kelsey_smith@nps.gov. The Bowles House is located at 439 East Main St, Hancock, MD 21750.


Above photo – Bowles House, Hancock Md. – Level 47 – October 29, 2011

June 24th Volunteers-In-Parks Speaker Series

Hello Level Walkers – the following notification is from the National Park Service. Karen Gray’s talks are insightful and informative, and well worth attending. Contact Kelsey Smith, Assistant Volunteer Coordinator, at kelsey_smith@nps.gov for more information or to RSVP.  – LWC


Join Karen Gray, PhD, librarian and longtime volunteer for the park; on Saturday, June 24th at 2 pm in the Great Falls Tavern. She will have an exciting one-hour presentation which will reveal the latest research and how it has changed our understanding of the canal’s operation and history–and to do so in a way that explains the continuing value of the myths and stories that have grown up along the canal, and that so many of us believed to be the truth for so long.

The program is free, but there is an entrance fee to the park of $10.00 per single vehicle. Space is limited to the first 25 guests. If you would like to attend this event, please RSVP with your name and how many will be in your party. The address is 11710 MacArthur Blvd., Potomac, MD 20854.

Photo – Charles F. Mercer, Lock 20 and Great Falls Tavern, April 15, 2017 – Level 6 

C&O Canal Volunteers-In-Parks Speaker Series Program Presents: “101 Years, 101 Culverts”

Hello Level Walkers – You may have seen this one coming when you read the title! The following notification is from the National Park Service. Contact Kelsey Smith, Assistant Volunteer Coordinator, at chohvip@gmail.com to RSVP – LWC


Steve Dean will be presenting a one-hour presentation on the culverts of the C&O Canal Saturday, May 27th at 2:00 p.m. on the first floor of the Great Falls Tavern Visitor Center.

“101 Years, 101 Culverts” is a presentation that highlights 101 of the canal’s culverts in honor of the 101st year of the National Park Service. A culvert is a structure that allows water or a road to cross under the canal in certain locations. Steve, a volunteer photographer for the park, takes a special interest in the canal’s culverts. The presentation will feature photographs of a wide range of culverts and discussion of their function, conditions and other aspects of culverts that can be found in the park today.

The program is free, but there is an entrance fee to the park of $10.00 per single vehicle. Space is limited to the first 25 guests. If you would like to attend this event, please RSVP with your name and how many will be in your party. For more information or to RSVP, please contact Kelsey Smith, Assistant Volunteer Coordinator, at kelsey_smith@nps.gov. The address is 11710 MacArthur Blvd., Potomac, MD 20854.

Photo and video – Culvert 221, Pigmans Run, after heavy rains, May 6, 2017 – Level 63