VIP Speaker Series and Volunteer Appreciation Event

Hello Level Walkers,

Thanks for your timely submissions of level walker reports for September. This enabled me to complete the Fiscal Year 2022 report on time.

The park is hosting the last 2022 VIP Speaker Series event on October 27; see below notice from the NPS.

As a reminder, per earlier notification, the virtual volunteer appreciation event is on October 19, and the Western District in-person event is at park headquarters in Williamsport on October 22. I will see you at that event. There is also a Four Locks walking tour on the morning of the 22nd; see the notice below.

VIP Speaker Series Plant and Pollinator Interactions: Knowing Who is Visiting the Flowers

Thursday, October 27, 2022 at 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM.

For our last presentation of the year, we welcome Sarah Brown from the Natural Resources staff. Plants grow, flower, produce seeds, and repeat this cycle. However, seed production doesn’t typically just happen! Many plants need a pollinator partner to complete this cycle. Join us to learn about the basics of understanding why, when, how, and who visits flowers and how knowing this information impacts natural resources in the park.
Microsoft Teams meeting Join on your computer, mobile app or room device

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Meeting ID: 245 093 504 636 
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Or call in (audio only) 12026401187,,591341379#

Four Locks Walking Tour

An exciting addition to the plans for Saturday, October 22nd is that volunteer Lowell Markey will be leading a walking program at Four Locks that morning.

Details on Four Locks Program on October 22nd from 10:30am-12pm: Lowell will talk about the community of Four Locks that existed during Canal operations which included stores, a post office and school, a dry dock repair facility and other features. The walk will cover about a half mile. Participants should meet Lowell at the Four Locks boat ramp parking lot at 10:30 am. 

Level Walker Updates – September 19

Hello Level Walkers,

I have a few topics for you:

Invasive Plant Removal at Carderock Recreation Area – The NPS is hosting an invasive plant clean-up at Carderock on Saturday, September 25. For details and sign-up please visit:
National Park Service (NPS) Invasive Plant Management Team (IPMT): Invasive Plant Removal at Carderock Recreation Area (

Virtual Volunteer Appreciation Event – The NPS sent the following update on the volunteer appreciation event: Dear Volunteers, 
We have set the date for our Virtual Volunteer Appreciation Event for Thursday, October 21 from 5-7pm. Please RSVP for the event by emailing so that we can add your name to the guest list and send you the Zoom link. 
Even if you previously RSVP’d for the picnic that was cancelled, please email us a new RSVP for the virtual event. For planning purposes, please RSVP by October 1. 
We will also be sending you details on where to pick up your appreciation items and goodie bag prior to October 21. 
If you have any questions, please reach out to your volunteer program coordinator. 
Thanks, and we hope to “see” you on October 21.  – Emily Durán Hewitt

Level Walker Volunteer Hours – The end of Fiscal Year 2021 is September 30 and is rapidly approaching. I have to submit all FY21 volunteer hours for the Level Walker team to the NPS. I intend to send my report on Sunday, October 3rd. If you have any reports up to and including September 30th, please at get the hours to me by the end of the day on Saturday, October 2nd. You don’t need to do your full report if you need more time, just let me know what your hours were.

Thanks for all you do!


Important Change to Volunteer Appreciation Events

Hello Level Walkers,

On July 17th, I informed you about the park’s annual volunteer picnics. Due to the evolving situation with COVID-19, the park has decided that the in-person event is not advisable. Per the following note from the C&O Canal Volunteer Manager, the in-person events are canceled.


Dear Volunteers,

Consistent with CDC recommendations and guidance from both NPS regional leadership and United States Public Health Service, with the rise in cases of COVID-19 and higher community transmission rates we have decided to cancel the in-person volunteer picnics and move the volunteer appreciation event to a virtual platform. Park staff is working on plans for a virtual event, and we will be in touch soon with more details. 
We look forward to safely celebrating your service to the park with our volunteers, staff, and partners.

Thank you, 
Emily Durán Hewitt

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!


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:

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:

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:

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:

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


Park Events, Visitor Centers and Calendar Photos

Hello Level Walkers!
Three messages from the National Park Service follow.  I hope you are able to get out and enjoy the towpath during some of the spring weather!

Summer Fun at the C&O Canal National Historical Park

Experience the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park (C&O Canal) this summer. Bike or walk the towpath, stop by a visitor center, ride a boat in Williamsport, or attend a park ranger program or special event.

June 9, July 7, August 4: Dulcimer Music. Great Falls Tavern Visitor Center*, 2:30 pm; 30 minutes, Join the Mountain Dulcimers of Northern Virginia for live music and try playing this unique instrument.

May 12–13: Civil War Encampment. Great Falls Tavern Visitor Center*, demonstrations at 11 am, 1:30 pm, and 3 pm; 60 minutes.  In 1862, the United States was in the middle of the Civil War with a hostile border along the Potomac River; explore this story with the 20th Maine Volunteer Infantry, walk through the camp, and talk to historical re-enactors through the entire weekend.

May 26 through September 2: Williamsport Launch Boat Tours. Williamsport Visitor Center, Wednesday through Friday, 1 pm, 2:30 pm; Saturday and Sunday 10:30 am, 1 pm, 2:30 pm; all tours 60 minutes. This free program includes riding a historic replica boat from the Cushwa Basin to Lock 44 and back. Call (301) 582-0813 for reservations. Reservations recommended and can be made seven days in advance, starting May 19, 2018.

May 26 through September 2: Life of a Lock Keeper. Lock house 44 near Williamsport Visitor Center, Friday through Sunday 1:15 pm to 4:15 pm. Lock keepers and their families were essential to the canal’s operation. Stop by lock 44 to discover what they did and how they lived on the C&O Canal.

May 27: Organ Grinders. Great Falls Tavern Visitor Center*, 9 am to 5 pm. The National Capital Chapter of Music Box Society International demonstrates this unique and historic type of entertainment.

June 2: Maritime Voices. Great Falls Tavern Visitor Center*, 12 pm and 2 pm; 45 minutes. The Washington Revels Maritime Voices musical ensemble revives songs featuring life on the canals and waterways of 19th-Century America.

June 30: Dragonfly Walk. Lock 70 in Oldtown, Maryland,10 am; 2 hours. Discover the “odonates” – dragonflies and damselflies – in the most diverse population in the National Park system. Walk 1.5 miles downstream along the C&O Canal. Bring comfortable shoes and water, a dragonfly guide, camera, spotting scope or binoculars.  Space limited to 25 people; Reservations:

July 28: Canal Thru Ride Slideshow. Trolley Barn at Williamsport Visitor Center, 2 pm; 60 minutes.Take a virtual thru ride along the C&O Canal towpath and discover dams, locks, lockhouses, culverts, bridges and aqueducts. Space limited to 25 people; Reservations:

August 25: Protecting the Canal: 1861-1865. Great Falls Tavern Visitor Center*, 2 pm; 60 minutes. Explore Civil War efforts to protect the C&O Canal and the effect of war on families living along it. Space limited to 25 people; Reservations:

August 25: Meet the Canal Mules. Williamsport Visitor Center, 10 am to 2 pm.  Meet hardworking National Park Service Mules Eva and Dolly and imagine pulling canal boats for a living.

Additional programs and activities will be scheduled throughout the summer months. Call or stop by park visitor centers at Cumberland, Williamsport, and Great Falls Tavern to find out about additional special programs.

*Park entrance fees may be charged at Great Falls Tavern Visitor Center but park ranger programs are free.

Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Visitor Center Summer Hours

Brunswick Visitor Center (301) 834-7100

40 West Potomac Street, Brunswick, Maryland

Thursday and Friday 10 am to 2 pm; Saturday 10 am to 4 pm; Sunday 1 pm to 4 pm; Closed Monday through Wednesday

Cumberland Visitor Center  (301) 722-8226

Western Maryland Railway Station, 13 Canal Street, Room 100, Cumberland, Maryland

Open Daily 9 am to 5 pm

Great Falls Tavern Visitor Center (301) 767-3714

11710 MacArthur Boulevard, Potomac, Maryland

Wednesday through Sunday 9 am to 4:30 pm; Closed Monday and Tuesday

Williamsport Visitor Center (301) 582-0813

205 West Potomac Street, Williamsport, Maryland

Wednesday through Sunday 9 am to 4:30 pm; Closed Monday and Tuesday

Call for Photos – 2019 C&O Canal Calendar

The park is now accepting photo submissions for the 2019 C&O Canal Calendar!
Photos of all parts of the park, through all four seasons will be included in the calendar. So if you have photos of historic structures, flora/fauna, visitors, volunteers, or just about anything else in the park, please submit them!
Once again this year, we ask that you submit your photos via Google Drive to To do this, compose an email and hover your mouse over the plus sign next to the attachments, click on the drive icon (resembles recycling logo), upload the photos you would like to share, and send to If you have any issues with this, please feel free to attach photos to a standard email sent to the same email address.
Please label your photo files with the name of photographer and location.
– Ex. BigSlackwater_John_Doe.
The deadline for submission is Friday, May 25th, 2018. If your photograph is selected, you will be contacted and credited in the calendar.

Above and below – Paw Paw Tunnel, Level 58, March 31, 2018

PPT mon

Level Walker Updates

Hello Level Walkers,

As the Association’s annual meeting approaches, I look forward to seeing some of you there.  If you need a level walker hat or have any questions, it will be a good time to catch up with me. If you have any questions about the annual meeting, please contact me.

If you are out there on the towpath, please keep in mind that icy conditions can persist even when it is above freezing, and tree limbs are prone to falling this time of year.  I observed both of these conditions first hand on Friday – though I did have the towpath all to myself!

The following updates are from the National Park Service.  The Weverton access change is a concern for many of us, and I don’t know if there will be any kind of work-around. I will update you if I hear anything on that.

Thanks for all you do!

Volunteer Program Assessment. The park is conducting an assessment of the volunteer program.  The park will use this information to improve the volunteer program.  The deadline to respond to the assessment is February 28th.
You will need to enter your name and email address to complete the survey.  This is so the park can follow up for more information if needed.
The survey is available at:
Weverton Railroad Crossing (near Harpers Ferry). CSX has notified the Park that the railroad crossing at Weverton (off of Keep Tryst Road) is to be only used by CSX personnel. There is no longer access from the parking lot at Weverton to the C&O Canal towpath or Appalachian Trail.
Both the AT and the National Capital Region are aware of the change of status.  Private crossing signs have been installed and trains are not required to sound horns. Trains go through this area very rapidly and it is an unprotected crossing, making it a safety hazard!
Special Events at Great Falls:
  • Great Falls Tavern is hosting a pop up exhibit during the month of February called “What Would You Do To Be Free?” focusing on the stories of runaway slaves on the Canal
  • Feb 17 – VIP Speaker Series: Great Backyard Bird Count (9:00-11:00)
  • Feb 18 – Annual George Washington Ball with music and dancing (1:00-4:00)
  • Feb 25 – Presentation on the African-American CCC at the C&O Canal (12:00-1:00)
  • March 10 – VIP Speaker Series: Aqueducts of the C&O Canal (2:00-3:00)
  • March 18 – Irish Laborers on the C&O Canal (1:00-2:00)
  • March 24 – VIP Speaker Series: Grand Old Ditch (2:00-3:00)
  • March 25 – Women’s Life and Work on the C&O Canal (1:00-3:00)
  • March 31 – Northern Virginia Mountain Dulcimers (12:30-3:00)

Above – Culvert 93, Israel Creek, at Weverton,  January 20, 2018

Volunteer Updates

Hello Level Walkers:

Here is some more info for you from the National Park Service.

Locks 5-22 Project: The Locks 5-22 Project began Dec 4, 2017 and will continue for approximately 500 days. Staging in the Great Falls parking lot has begun, and we should start seeing construction activity by the end of the year. Updates for all Park projects can be found on our Project Webpage.

Great Falls Tavern Dates:

  • Dec 24 – Closed
  • Dec 31 – Closed
  • Jan 1 – Open, First Day Hikes
  • Jan 13, 12:30-3:30 – Northern Virginia Mountain Dulcimers
  • Jan 15 – Closed

Fee Free Days 2018

  • Jan 15 – Martin Luther King Jr. Day
  • Apr 21 – First day of National Park Week
  • Sept 22 – National Public Lands Day
  • Nov 11 – Veterans Day

Fall/Winter C&O Canal Volunteer Newsletter: This newsletter is issued periodically by the park with info relevant to volunteers. Thanks to Kelsey Smith and Mary Kate Gentile for pulling this newsletter together. Happy Holidays from the HQ Volunteer Office!

Above – Iced over canal at Lock 70, Level 63, February 15, 2015

Activities in the Williamsport Area –October 27 and 28

Hello Level Walkers!  If you aren’t attending the Heritage Hike but are looking for something to do on the canal this weekend, consider one of these fine activities hosted by National Park Service rangers in the Williamsport area. Thanks! – LWC

Fall is a wonderful time to discover the wonders of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park (C&O Canal). Join rangers for special talks, walks, a bike tour and a sing-along on Friday, October 27, and Saturday, October 28.

Friday, October 27 – Williamsport Visitor Center, 205 West Potomac Street, Williamsport, Md.

10:30–11:30 a.m. – Ranger talk on the “Art of Interpreting Natural and Cultural Resources.”

Noon – One-mile round-trip hike to historic Lockhouse 44. Learn about C&O Canal history, lockhouses and how locks work.

2:00–3:00 p.m. – Canal music lesson and sing-along.

Saturday, October 28 – Four Locks Boat Ramp, Clear Spring, Md.

11:00 a.m.–noon – Ranger-led half mile walk on “Rediscover the Community of Four Locks.”  Learn about how canal operations supported this once-vibrant community.

1:00–3:30 p.m. – Ranger led five-mile round-trip bike ride to Dam 5. Discuss the clever engineers who used 19th-century marvels to navigate both the river and canal.

Pack a lunch to eat in the picnic grounds between the walk and bike ride!

Four Locks Boat Ramp is located in Clear Springs, Md. It can be reached by turning onto Four Locks Road from Maryland Route 56, driving 0.6 miles, and then bearing right onto Starliper Road to the boat ramp parking lot.

For more information about any of these programs, call the C&O Canal Williamsport Visitor Center at 301-582-0813.

Above – Locks 49 and 50, Level 42, October 17, 2014

Below – Lock 44, Level 37, May 6, 2017

lock 44

Volunteer Dinner Survey

Hello – this is a short message about the park’s volunteer dinners.  Thanks to all of you who showed up!  It was great to see you, and to meet some of you for the first time. Whether you attend the dinners or not, realize that the C&O Canal NHP, the Association and I all appreciate your efforts on the canal.  The C&O Canal has a volunteer program that is the envy of other parks, and you are part of the reason why.

The park is looking for feedback on the dinners and welcomes your opinion if you attended. Please see the following from the park’s volunteer program manager.  Thanks! – LWC

Thanks to everyone who came out for the volunteer dinners. Please take a few minutes to complete the following SHORT survey –
Please complete the survey by Monday, October 23rd.
Your feedback will help us with planning for next year’s volunteer dinners.
Please share this email with park volunteers.
Thank you,
Emily H. Hewitt
Volunteer Program Manager
C&O Canal National Historical Park

Above – Dam 5, Level 40, October 5, 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 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 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 The Great Falls Tavern is located at 11710 MacArthur Blvd., Potomac, MD 20854.

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