The Planning, Environment and Public Comment (PEPC) website is NPS's primary tool dedicated to facilitating public input into decision making processes. The PEPC website was taken offline during the government shutdown, which prohibited the ability of affected parties and the public to provide comments on any projects or proposals whose comment periods were open between December 21, 2018, and Feb 6, 2019, when PEPC was put back in service. To ensure that the public has ample opportunity to review and comment, the comment period for this proposal will reopen on Feb 6, 2019 and be extended through Feb 20, 2019. Any written comments received or comments entered into PEPC prior to the shutdown will be considered and included in the overall project record.
The National Park Service (NPS) proposes to rehabilitate an existing historic stone retaining wall and re-establish the historic towpath along an approximate 0.9-mile stretch in the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park between McMahon's Mill (Milepost 88.10) and Lock 42 (Milepost 89.04) in Washington County, Maryland. The proposed project would consist of reconstructing missing or washed out sections of the retaining wall and stabilizing or reinforcing other sections. New foundations would be established for the reconstructed wall sections. In some sections, the towpath would be moved inland. The level of the towpath and retaining wall would be raised to reduce the frequency of inundation during flood events and the towpath would be resurfaced. This work would require removing vegetation between the towpath and the river and within 5 feet of the towpath on the landward side. Following construction, regular vegetation maintenance would be conducted to prevent potentially destabilizing growth into the retaining wall.
The purpose of this proposed project is to rehabilitate and stabilize the historic stone wall and towpath to make it more resilient to flooding and to improve visitor access and safety in the project area. This project is needed because recurring high water events in the project area have caused degradation of cultural resources, including the towpath and historic stone wall; periodic area closures that reduce visitor access; and unsafe conditions for visitors in the area as well as on detours stemming from the closures. In addition, the current width of the towpath does not allow for emergency and maintenance vehicles.
Chief of Resources Management
C&O Canal National Historical Park
1850 Dual Highway
Hagerstown, Maryland 21740