The Charles F. Mercer at Great Falls
Started in 1828, the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal operated for nearly 100 years, providing a lifeline for communities along the Potomac River. After closing due to natural destruction and competition from the railroads, the area languished in disrepair until it became a target for a parkway in the 1950s. Thanks to recognition from a group of dedicated individuals, support was rallied to save the canal and it became a National Historical Park in 1971.
Today, the C&O Canal covers over 20,000 acres and is one of the nation’s most diverse national parks in terms of both natural species and history. Boasting over 113 rare and threatened species of plants and animals and more than 1,000 historic structures, the C&O Canal is a true national treasure.
Join the Director of Programs and Partnerships of the C&O Canal Trust, Aidan Barnes, as he takes a closer look at the history of the canal and its function and design, the Trust’s special wildlife initiatives, and what it takes to keep the park thriving and accessible for visitors. Special focus is given to the canal’s popular lockhouses, several of which have been restored to reflect their original era.
The C&O Canal Trust is an official nonprofit partner of the C&O Canal National Historical Park and works closely with National Park Service staff to assist in maintaining the historic, natural, and recreational features of the park for future generations to enjoy.
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