Lock 75 Parking Area Closure
The National Park Service, Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park, will close the Lock 75 public parking area, located at Mile 175.6 of the park. The open, mowed field area is located off Route 51 and Pittsburgh Plate Glass Road (PPG Road) near Cumberland, MD. The purpose of the project is to physically close the open field area to unauthorized vehicular parking with property boundary barriers and a locked gate. It is proposed that these elements be conducted as soon as possible. The need for this project is to address the illegal overnight parking by commercial vendors of neighboring property owners, and to halt the use of the area as an after hour gathering spot.
Until 1999, the Lock 75 field area was the site for a full size canal boat display. Visitors were directed to the location from Route 51. Picnic tables and the open field area were provided for visitor use. In 1999, the canal boat display was transferred to the canal terminus area at Cumberland. With the transfer of the display, the regular public day use of the Lock 75 parking area was greatly diminished.
Additionally, in 2005, neighboring properties were developed into commercial use areas, causing an increase in commercial traffic in the area. As a result, the open field area of the park has been used as unauthorized commercial vehicle parking, often overnight.
The unauthorized commercial use of the Lock 75 tract is posing numerous impacts to the park and its resources. During calendar year 2009, the area averaged 9.4 vehicles per day. The majority of these vehicles were park service employees/volunteers or unauthorized commercial traffic (trucks/trailers). It has been recorded that overnight parking of non-NPS equipment is a frequent occurrence. Few visitors use the area as access to the canal/park.
Public parking is available at Lock 74, also known as North Branch, which is located approximately ¼ mile from Lock 75. Volunteers, who staff the lockhouse at Lock 75 during duty hours, would still have authorized access into the park at Lock 75.
The NPS boundary will be delineated with boulders and a pipe gate across the access road. The three picnic tables will be removed from the field area because they are seldom used and are next to hazardous trees.
The field area will continue to be mowed to prevent the establishment of non-native plants. This will be done until appropriate natural and cultural resource studies can be undertaken, which will determine the most appropriate recovery of the area. Studies, and the subsequent recommendations, will need to be reviewed under a separate compliance package. Wetland delineations and cultural resource studies will be undertaken to best plan for the appropriate recovery of this area and to meet the natural and cultural criteria of the park.
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.17 – Construction of fencing enclosures or boundary fencing posing no effect on wildlife migrations.
The project also meets the National Historic Preservation Act/Section 106 Programmatic Agreement, Streamlined Review Process #3 - Repair/Resurfacing/Removal of Existing Roads, Trails, and Parking Areas.
For further information regarding this project, please contact;
Chief of Resources Management
Chesapeake and Ohio Canal NHP
1850 Dual Highway, Suite 100
Hagerstown, MD 21740