APRIL 10 IS NOW THE DEADLINE FOR COMMENTS ON THE PRELIMINARY ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT ON THE GEORGETOWN BOATHOUSE ZONE
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 Environmental Assessment that were submitted before the previously announced March 6 deadline. The National Park Service’s project website now indicates that public comments will be accepted through April 10. Canal park supporters who have not yet made their comment are urged to do so through that website.
The National Park Service is to consider that public input while 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, planned during the summer of 2015.
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.)