Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park

Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park

Ideas to improve C&O Canal area studied

July 20, 2009, 2:12 pm

Imagine climbing into a boat along the C&O Canal in Williamsport and passing through the Conococheague Aqueduct, under a railroad lift bridge, and through Lock 44, just as canal travelers did a century ago.

It’s an idea that is getting serious consideration as local government officials, National Park Service authorities, tourism experts and others search for ways to renovate the structures and capitalize on growing numbers of visitors to the park.

Ideas such as rebuilding and re-watering the deteriorated Conococheague Aqueduct have been talked about for years, but Williamsport Mayor James G. McCleaf II said a new enthusiasm is building.

Officials of Williamsport, which is steeped in canal history, and C&O Canal National Historical Park officials did not communicate well in the past, but the two sides are working together these days, McCleaf said.

About $1 million in state highway funds were sought to put the railroad lift bridge back into operation and to restore Lock 44.

Maryland Sen. Donald F. Munson, R-Washington, said that during the last session of Maryland’s General Assembly, he helped secure $1 million for those projects.