C&O Canal Update – August 19


Here is the latest update from the park.

Thanks, Steve

Dear Volunteers,
Here is the latest news –
The Billy Goat Trail-A is back open, but Billy Goat Trail-C is still closed due to hazard trees.
The National Park Service is offering the following training opportunity. Please note, this webinar is not being conducted by C&O Canal staff. It is being offered by the NPS Horace M. Albright Training Center. The NPS and You–An Introduction to the NPS Mission Webinar: Join this webinar on August 26 from 2:30 – 4:30 PM or September 9 from 2-4 PM to explore foundational concepts that contribute to the success of all employees, volunteers, and partners to meet the mission of the National Park Service. During this two-hour webinar, you will look at what makes a park unit nationally significant and build connections between the work you do and the mission of the National Park Service. They will also cover how to find additional resources for you to continue your orientation to the agency after the webinar. The webinar is open to all employees, volunteers, and partners.
Click HERE to register for the August 26 webinar, or click HERE to register for the September 9 webinar. 
The park recently shared the Volunteer Program Action Plan, and we are holding listening sessions to answer questions about the Action Plan. Please email emily_hewitt@nps.gov if you would like to participate in a session. There are still several spots available in each of the following sessions:

  • August 20 @ 10:30am via conference call 
  • August 24 @ 8:30am via Microsoft Teams
  • August 31 @ 9am via conference call

Thank you and stay well,
Emily Durán Hewitt

C&O Canal Update – August 13

Hello Level Walkers,

Here is the latest update from the park.
Thanks, Steve

Dear Volunteers, 
Here is the latest park news:

  • The Billy Goat A & C trails are still closed due to hazard trees caused by the tropical storm. Tree crews have been working to clear the trees this week and the park anticipates being able to open Billy Goat A by this weekend. When the trail is open, the park will update the alerts page on the website. 
  • Damage to the Seneca Aqueduct railing was discovered, but park Maintenance has already repaired the railing and the Seneca Aqueduct is passable.  
  • For FY19, the park nominated the C&O Canal Trust for the Hartzog Award for Outstanding Volunteer Service for a Group. We are pleased to announce that the Canal Trust won the regional award! Their work with volunteer projects such as Canal Pride Days and groups such as TeenWorks provide communities opportunities to engage in stewardship of the C&O Canal resource. The Canal Trust Quartermasters program has long been a successful way to engage volunteers in the protection and maintenance of the restored Canal Quarters lockhouses. A big congratulations to the C&O Canal Trust for this prestigious volunteer award!

Stay well, 
Emily Durán Hewitt

C&O Canal Update – August 5th


I hope everyone got through the storm without problems. Here’s an update from the park.

Thanks, Steve

Dear Volunteers,

The park fared pretty well during Tropical Storm Isaias. A number of trees did come down in the park, and both Billy Goat Trails A & C are closed due to fallen trees that will be cleared by park staff as soon as possible. When those trails reopen, the park will update the alerts page on the website.

If you decide to visit the park this week, be aware and stay safe. Check the park Facebook page before your visit for the latest conditions.

Stay well,  Emily Durán Hewitt

Image – hazard downed tree on the canal – photographer and location not identified

C&O Canal Update – July 8

Hello Level Walkers,

Here’s the latest park status.


Dear Volunteers,
This past holiday weekend was a busy one, and park staff are working hard to keep up with the higher than normal visitation. As a reminder, when you are in the park and see problems, issues, or hazards that need immediate attention, the best way to report them is to contact Park Dispatch.
Here are the Dispatch numbers:
Non-emergency: 301-714-2235
Emergency: 866-677-6677
The C&O Canal Trust will be holding volunteer trash clean-up projects this month. For more information on dates & locations and to register, visit the Canal Pride Days webpage.
The footbridge across the Potomac River that connects C&O Canal NHP and Harpers Ferry NHP is now OPEN. For a complete list of conditions, please visit the park website.
Thanks and stay well!
Emily H. Hewitt

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 NHP Status Update – May 27

Hello Level Walkers –

Following update is from volunteer program manager, Emily Hewitt.




Dear Volunteers,
We have some updates on the park’s operating status. The park is working to increase access in a phased approach. The volunteer program continues to be suspended until further notice. The following information can be found on the park website.
Park status at this time:
Reservation Only Campgrounds – beginning to open at Antietam Creek, McCoys Ferry, 15-Mile Creek, Paw Paw, Spring Gap. Campsites must be reserved through www.recreation.gov. These facilities will have every other site open in order to encourage social distancing. Please bring your own water as pump handles will not be replaced and turned on at this time. Restrooms will be cleaned twice weekly. Please bring your own hand sanitizer, soap, and toilet paper as these items have been the subject of theft.
Hiker-biker Campsites – open in Frederick, Washington, and Allegany Counties (Calico Rocks to Evitts Creek). Please bring your own water as pump handles will not be replaced and turned on at this time. Restrooms may be open and will be cleaned twice weekly. Please bring your own hand sanitizer, soap, and toilet paper as these items have been the subject of theft.
Restrooms, Vault Toilets, and Portable Toilets – beginning to open at campgrounds, boat ramps, and day use areas in Frederick, Washington, and Allegany Counties. Restrooms will be cleaned twice weekly. Please bring your own hand sanitizer, soap, and toilet paper as these items have been the subject of theft.

Water Fountains and Wells – beginning to open in Frederick, Washington, and Allegany Counties.

Gatherings of more than 10 persons are prohibited.
C&O Canal NHP will cancel permits and reservations and will not accept applications for demonstrations, special events, or park site reservations until further notice.
Visitor Centers continue to be closed.
Parking Areas – may be closed, including the Great Falls, Fletchers Cove, and Carderock Recreation Area. Parking at Anglers is limited to provide access for EMS and rescue services.

While the listed areas are accessible for visitors to enjoy, a return to full operations will continue to be phased, and services may be limited. When recreating, please follow local area health orders, practice Leave No Trace principles, and avoid crowding and high-risk outdoor activities.

The CDC has offered guidance to help people recreating in parks and open spaces prevent the spread of infectious diseases. We will continue to monitor all park functions to ensure that visitors adhere to CDC guidance for mitigating risks associated with the transmission of COVID-19 and take any additional steps necessary to protect public health.

Please let us know if you have any questions.
Stay well!
Emily H. Hewitt

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


Resumption of Volunteer Activities

Hello Level Walkers,

As you have no doubt heard, the government shutdown has ended. The National Park Service has advised that we can resume volunteer activities. NPS staff will be busy over the next few days as they resume normal operations.

As you return to the towpath, be watchful of any conditions the park may need to be aware of. You can report any hazards you encounter to https://www.nps.gov/choh/safetyhazardsreportingsystem.htm.

Also, be aware that areas may be closed or access restricted in certain areas. Refer to https://www.nps.gov/choh/index.htm for up-to-date status before visiting the park.

Thanks for your support!

Image – Lock 31 and Towpath Below Weverton, Level 21, January 26, 2019