Save the C&O Canal from intrusive development!
DEFENDERS OF POTOMAC RIVER PARKLAND
A SITE AT RISK
The area to the left in the photo, between the river and the Capital Crescent Trail, remains the possible site of a massive private structure.  (View more
images.)
PROTECT THE C&O CANAL NATIONAL HISTORICAL PARK

The Threat of an Intrusive Boathouse:  Two of your favorite trails remain endangered by private development.  Georgetown University has long wished to build a massive boathouse at the gateway to the natural areas of the C&O Canal National Historical Park's towpath and to the Capital Crescent Trail. The Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) process on this issue, dormant since 2008 in the face of strong public reaction, will likely be resumed in some form.  Meanwhile, two newer EIS processes are ongoing and relevant:

Georgetown Boathouse Zone Feasibility Study
: This feasibility study, which the National Park Service made final in September 2013, may lead to positive plans for boating enhancement that would respect the values of the C&O Canal NHP.  However, the study includes development scenarios that may encourage a renewed drive to establish a major facility for a private academic sports program within the canal park's borders.  The study's summary notes that "Next steps in planning for the [boathouse zone] would likely include preparation of an EIS that would further analyze the development scenarios, a revision of the Georgetown Waterfront Park Master Plan, and proposals for one or more land exchanges for boathouses."  In June 2014, NPS stated that follow-up action involving an Environmental Assessment would begin in the fall: see article.

Potomac River Tunnel
:  DC Water plans a large tunnel to store contaminated runoff during periods of heavy rain.  The tunnel will run beneath the Georgetown waterfront, including the boathouse feasibility study zone, and farther downstream.  Depending on its size and design, the tunnel may have a major effect on the C&O Canal NHP.  NPS closed the period for public scoping comments the project's environmental study on September 2.  A public meeting on alternatives is tentatively scheduled for winter 2014-15, with a draft EIS to be published in spring 2015: see article.

Continuing Need for Concern
:  The Defenders of Potomac River Parkland coalition is determined to prevent an outcome harmful to the C&O Canal NHP.  We urge all supporters of the canal park to stay informed on these issues and be prepared to take action.

An intrusive Georgetown University boathouse at a location inside the C&O Canal National Historical Park is not in the public interest. If approved, such a building could destroy trees, wildlife habitat, wetlands, and natural flood barriers, besides setting a precedent for private development in other areas of the park. A popular entrance to the canal park and the Capital Crescent Trail, within three historic areas, would be impacted by construction and by the need for maintenance access.  Along the trail, bikers, hikers, and baby strollers would tangle with increased traffic, including motorized vehicles.  A huge boathouse would downgrade the views of the river shoreline from the C&O Canal Towpath, the Key Bridge, and from Virginia.  Appropriate sites for construction of ample boating facilities exist on degraded land outside of the National Historical Park.

THE NATURAL, SCENIC, HISTORIC CHARACTER OF THIS SECTION OF THE NATIONAL HISTORICAL PARK COULD BE LOST FOREVER!



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