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Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, page 3

Click on the MEDIA ITEMS below for more information


canal fully restored, canoeing would quickly become a major sport and bicycle and hiking enthusiasts would fully enjoy the advantages offered by a rounded, dirt towpath. In this manner, the serenity of the canal would be preserved and game and birdlife fully protected. Finally, and this is the crux of the whole matter to the "country lane" people, a highway, they contend, would absolutely defeat the whole park project and would destroy a unique and irreplacable example of Americanna.

Yet another group—one that tends to frown on so-called Big Government in Washington—contends that the National Park Service has enough real estate tied up already. This group would prefer to see Maryland's own excellent Parks department carry out any proposed canal restoration work.

Many ideas have been advanced on how to save the C & O and make it serve the public to best advantage. One of the most ingenious was forwarded by a well-known public relations man. He said: "Why is it that people always want to do what everybody else has done—and completely disregard any original or unique angles their individual project may have. Take this canal. With our population busting out all over and with more and more roads being built every year, did anyone ever stop to think how few places there are where a man can walk these days?"

Warming to his task, the P. R. expert continued, "If I were promoting Maryland, and could have my own way, I wouldn't let an automobile get within honking distance of that towpath. In a state that has more race tracks than any other I can think of, I'd provide horses and rigs for people who would like to ride along the Potomac in leisurely style. I'd promote old-time inns along the route. I'd schedule regular barge trips for paying guests. I'd encourage clubs and groups to hike or bike over the C & O route. At Cumberland, C & O terminal would combine good food and lodging along with exhibits extolling the history of the canal and Maryland itself. Once these people got to Cumberland they'd most likely stay awhile. At any rate many of them would come back. Most important, I'd try to make it different, original—with an appeal all its own. And most certainly there isn't anything different about a highway."

How these schemes will turn out is anybody's guess. With the Maryland Legislature approving purchase of additional land for future parkway development, the parkway advocates appear to be on the inside track at the moment.

Meanwhile, the controversy continues. And as it rages, quite unnoticed, hundreds of people continue to enjoy the old C & O Canal just the way it is. On any pleasant Sunday afternoon—from the Georgetown locks out past Cabin John—grownups and children can be seen strolling along the towpath. The barge loaded to the gunnels with sightseers flies by at three miles an hour. People drop fishing lines hopefully into the water. On


Editor Craig


Collection Location:
Ruth Enlow Library, Oakland

Original Size:
22 x 15 cms

Editor: Felix G. Robinson

Maryland, History


Western Maryland Regional Library
100 South Potomac Street
Hagerstown, Maryland 21740

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