DRAFT ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT ON THE GEORGETOWN BOATHOUSE ZONE:
The National Park Service is currently preparing a draft Environmental Assessment (EA) to implement a non-motorized boathouse zone in Georgetown. The draft EA will include the agency's "preferred alternative" for development. The public will have an opportunity to comment on the document at the time of its release, which is expected in December 2015 or January 2016.
Many thanks to all who expressed their concern for protecting the C&O Canal National Historical Park and Capital Crescent Trail in scoping-phase comments on the boathouse zone EA that were submitted before the deadline of April 10, 2015. The National Park Service has stated that it will publish a summary of comments received on its project website; meanwhile, examples are posted on this website: see article.
Although the preliminary alternatives presented during the EA scoping phase included positive concepts for the C&OCNHP, some options involved substantial construction in the park. The High Density Alternative proposed a large boathouse -- possibly for private ownership or use -- within the canal park's borders. This is unnecessary, since the boathouse zone includes suitable space downriver from the canal park (see Images and Maps).
AREAS AT RISK
Above is shown a section of the Capital Crescent Trail near Site A, where a storage facility would be constructed under the preliminary EA's High Density Alternative.
Below is part of the shoreline at Site C that would be blocked by a large boathouse under the High Density option. Both locations are within the C&O Canal National Historical Park.
The EA process is explained on the NPS project website, and the preliminary alternatives are described and illustrated in a newsletter posted in that site's Document List. A comment by the Defenders coalition expressed strong concerns about possible effects on the future of the canal park in Georgetown, and similar views were voiced by many other organizations and individuals (see article to read examples of these comments.)