PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD ON THE GEORGETOWN BOATHOUSE ZONE ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT OPEN UNTIL SEPTEMBER 30
On July 28, 2016, the National Park Service published an Environmental Assessment (EA) on a development plan for the Georgetown Nonmotorized Boathouse Zone. NPS states that the EA's "action alternative" respects "the historic character, natural resources and existing recreational uses of Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park and Rock Creek Park while providing improvements to the waterfront."
The action plan divides the boathouse zone into five sites, designated A through E, of which Sites A-C are within the C&O Canal NHP (see map below). Most of the additional boating access would be provided at Sites D and E, including a large new boathouse at Site E, downriver from Key Bridge.
Publication of the current EA is a key step in a process, lasting more than a decade, during which the Defenders coalition has worked to protect the Georgetown section of the C&O Canal National Historical Park from intrusive and inappropriate development. On September 18, the Defenders group submitted its coalition comment on the EA. The comment welcomes the EA's recommendations to have no major construction, no new private facilities, and no trading away of NPS land within the C&O Canal NHP; however, the Defenders comment also voices concerns about the design, usage, and scale of any projects within the canal park. Examples of other comments by canal park supporters are available: see News page.
The EA is available for review at the link below, and public comments will be accepted through September 30. All those concerned about the future of the canal park in Georgetown are encouraged to express their views: http://parkplanning.nps.gov/nmbzea_comments.
Above is shown a section of the Capital Crescent Trail near Site A, an area upriver from Site B, the historic Washington Canoe Club building.
Below is part of the shoreline at Site C which lies between the Washington Canoe Club and the Alexandria Aqueduct Bridge. Sites A, B, and C are within the C&O Canal National Historical Park. Sites D and E are downriver from the C&OCNHP.
The map below is a detail from Figure 3 on page 14 of the EA (see our Images and Maps page for the complete Figure 3). The detail shows action proposals for the section of the zone that lies within the C&O Canal National Historical Park. Dotted lines indicate the maximum area for optional projects at Sites A and C.
The EA deserves thoughtful comment by the September 30 deadline. Background information on earlier phases of this process is available on this Defenders website.