C&O Canal Volunteers-In-Parks Speaker Series Program Presents: “OneHealth: Your Health & the Park’s Health”

Hello Level Walkers – the following notification is from the National Park Service. Contact Kelsey Smith, Assistant Volunteer Coordinator, at chohvip@gmail.com to RSVP – LWC


Potomac, MD – On April 23, 2017, at 11 a.m: What role do invasive plants play in the emergence of Lyme disease? How does trash serve as a breeding ground for mosquitos? Why is the “dogs on leash” policy a way to protect visitors from rabies?  For Park RX day, Susan Howard, Palisades Bike Patrol Volunteer, a seasoned international public health professional, also pursuing a PhD in environmental science, will give a talk on the intersection of wildlife, ecosystem and human health, called ‘One Health’, where she will discuss the link between conservation stewardship and how zoonotic diseases such as Lyme disease, mosquito-borne infections, and rabies spread when ecosystem integrity is imperiled by human actions.

The 184.5 miles of the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal (C&O) is a living laboratory to not only stimulate an understanding among visitors of history and the human industrial pursuits that prompted its creation, but a place to promote the interconnectedness of all living things, particularly the interaction between wildlife, humans and ecosystems in both health and the emergence of disease.   

Ms. Howard is an active volunteer with the US National Park Service as a Palisades Bike Patrol Volunteer and has been involved in efforts to develop a One Health Plan for the C&O Canal since 2015.   As a PhD student in environmental science at George Mason University, she is interested in studying the role that interactive videos and games might have in fostering desirable One Health behaviors and practices including conservation stewardship in National Parks. Ms. Howard will share recommended risk reduction precautions and practices for park visitors; as well as preventive public health actions and conservation measures for park volunteers and employees.

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 chohvip@gmail.com.

Photo – Four Locks, Locks 49 and 50 from Lock 48; April 6, 2017 – Level 41

2017 Canal Boat Excursions Season Opens at Great Falls Tavern Visitor Center in Potomac, Maryland

Hello Level Walkers – the following notification is from the National Park Service. Contact Pete Peterson, Supervisory Park Ranger, pete_peterson@nps.gov 301-767-3702 for further information. – LWC


Potomac, MD – Nineteenth-century mule-drawn canal boat excursions resume for the 2017 season at the Great Falls Tavern on Saturday, April 1, 2017. Come aboard the Charles F. Mercer, a reproduction packet boat to experience what it was once like to travel up and down this historic waterway. Cruise on the canal at a mule’s pace and experience rising and falling 8 feet in a lift lock. Hear tales of what life was like for the families who lived and worked on the canal.

Public Boat Excursions: April- October, Saturday and Sunday at 11:00 am, 1:30 pm, and 3:00 pm. June-August, Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 11:00am, 1:30pm and 3:00pm. To confirm the boat ride for your visit, please call 301-767-3714 for details as special circumstances may affect this schedule. Prices: $8.00 for adults (ages 16-61), $6.00 for seniors (ages 62 +), and $5.00 for children (ages 4-15). Children aged three and under ride free. In addition to the boat fee, there is an entrance fee to the park of $10.00 per single vehicle.

Ten or more people are required to make advance reservations. Otherwise, seats are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. To charter the Charles F. Mercer for evening excursions, please call 301-767-3709.  The Charles F. Mercer boat capacity is 60 people. The boat programs last approximately one hour.

The Charles F. Mercer operates at the Great Falls Tavern Visitor Center of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park. The address is 11710 MacArthur Blvd. Potomac, MD 20854. Check our website and Facebook page for additional special event and ranger-led programs: www.nps.gov/choh, www.facebook.com/chesapeakeandohiocanal . Join in the conversation this summer! #candocanal #great falls #towpath #mules #potomac

Photo – An excursion on Charles F. Mercer departs Lock 20; September 13, 2014 – Level 7

C&O Canal Explore the Story of Women’s Lives

Hello Level Walkers – the following notification is from the National Park Service about a program for the park’s volunteers. Contact  Pete Peterson, Supervisory Park Ranger, 301-767-3702 for further information. – LWC

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Potomac, MD – On Saturday, March 25, 2017, the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park (C&O Canal) invites the public to come explore the story of women’s lives and work on the canal. The program will take place at the Great Falls Tavern in Potomac, Maryland.

Women played vital roles in the operation of the C&O Canal from its beginning in 1828 to the present. Historically, women needed to be skilled in mule care, booking, laundry, cooking, sewing, medicine, and teaching. They often found themselves as lock-tenders and boatman. The public will be encouraged to participate in the various forms of labor performed by women along the canal in the 19th century. Volunteers will demonstrate how laundry, cooking, cleaning, child rearing, and other forms of “women’s work” was done during the heyday of the C&O Canal. Come and try your hand at kneading dough, scrubbing a washboard, and mending a shirt. This event will run from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm.

This demonstration will take place at the Great Falls Tavern Visitor Center (11710 MacArthur Boulevard, Potomac, MD  20854). The event will be free of charge. There is a fee to enter the park (currently $10 per vehicle for a single visit, unless a passenger has an applicable park pass). Call ahead for details at (301) 767-3714 (press “0” to reach a park staff person, Wed.-Sun., 9:00-4:30).  For more information on the C&O Canal’s programs and events, please visit www.nps.gov/choh.

Photo – Fifteen Mile Creek Aqueduct Upstream; October 21, 2016 – Level 53