Lock 8 - Modification of Canoe Access to Potomac River
The National Park Service, Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park, will modify the canoe launch on the Potomac River near Lock 8. The canoe launch is a carry-in public facility.
The Potomac Conservancy uses and maintains Lockhouse 8, through an agreement with the National Park Service, as an environmental education center. As a part of the environmental experience for students, the Potomac Conservancy owns nearby Minnie's Island and the Conservancy's students access the island by canoe for field exercises. The existing canoe launch has been damaged from high waters over the past 10 years and is in need of extensive repairs. This existing launch has a steep stairway that would need to be re-anchored into the park's historic towpath. In order to reduce the potential of damage to the towpath, the project will move the river access point approximately 200 feet upstream of the current location. The new location will place the launch point away from the historic towpath and will use an existing 50' trail that connects the towpath to the edge of the Potomac River. The new location moves the canoe launch away from the steeper river embankment, offering a less challenging carry-in/carry-out for users.
The new canoe launch/river access point will involve some minor trail work to address some existing erosion conditions. The two existing steps at the towpath will be replaced in kind. The trail will be widened by approximately two feet by selective vegetation removal. No mature trees will be removed; however, some exposed tree roots within the trail will be cut back to ground level to make the pathway more even for users. Two steps will be constructed at the shoreline to aid the boaters in getting in and out of their canoes. The total area of impact for the four pathway steps and the trail will not exceed 172 square feet. No structures will be located within the mean high water of the river.
Upon dismantling of the existing access stairs, the location will have native grass seed planted to revegetate the slope.
The new canoe launch will be available for the general public.
The park's Interdisciplinary Team reviewed the project for impacts to natural and cultural resources. The project does not pose any serious or long-term effects to the environmental, historical, cultural, archeological, or visual resources. It meets categorical exclusion #C.1-Minor trail relocation, development of compatible trail networks on logging roads or other established routes, and trail maintenance and repair.
Upon review under the National Historic Preservation Act/Section 106 Programmatic Agreement, no historic properties will be affected.
For further information about this project, please contact Natural Resources Program Manager, at 1850 Dual Highway, Suite 100, Hagerstown, MD 21740.