Q: What's wrong with letting Georgetown University build a boathouse for its rowing team?
A: The Defenders of Potomac River Parkland are NOT against a new boathouse for GU -- but we DO oppose building an intrusive private facility within the C&O Canal National Historical Park
Q: What is the C&O Canal National Historical Park?
A: Established by Congress, the C&O Canal National Historical Park preserves the historic Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, which runs between Georgetown and Cumberland, Md., as well as the canal's scenic and natural environment. It is among the most popular of all national parks, and is treasured by local residents and by visitors from all over the country.
Q: Where is Georgetown University's preferred site for the proposed boathouse?
A: GU wishes to place an extremely large boathouse in a wooded area of shoreline that is just upriver from the historic Washington Canoe Club. The site is in a narrow section of the C&O Canal National Historical Park that is the gateway to the Capital Crescent Trail and to the natural areas of the canal towpath. This was designated the preferred site in a draft Environmental Assessment that the National Park Service published in 2006. The draft EA roused strong public opposition and was discontinued.
Q: What's wrong with the preferred site?
A: If approved, the massive building would block views of the river, disrupt the trails, destroy trees and natural habitat, compromise historic values, and set a precedent for private development in other areas of a park that should be open to enjoyment by everyone.
Q: What followed the 2006 draft Environmental Assessment?
A: In 2007, the National Park Service announced an Environmental Impact Study to examine the proposal to build a Georgetown University boathouse on a site within the C&O Canal National Historical Park. During 2007-08, NPS accepted public comment on the scope of the EIS aqnd held focus group meetings. In 2011, however, NPS began a feasibility study on implementation of a Georgetown boathouse zone, and stated that the EIS was on hold.
Q: What is the feasibility study?
A: The National Park Service's feasibility study to implement a non-motorized boathouse zone along the Georgetown waterfront examines what boating-related structures and facilities can be accomodated within an area that includes important sections of the C&O Canal National Historical Park. The study presents scenarios for enhancing boating access, ranging from high to low density development. The Defenders of Potomac River Parkland endorsed the low density approach as respecting the values of the C&O Canal NHP. The public comment period on the study ended on May 24, 2013.
Q: What can I do to prevent intrusion on the C&O Canal National Historical Park?
A: Be prepared to voice support for protecting the C&O Canal National Historical Park through written comments on future NPS studies, Environmental Assessments, or Environmental Impact Studies. Explain the importance of protecting the C&OCNHP by sending a letter to media and officials. (See Take Action.)
Q: How can I find out more about this issue?
A: Explore this website for: articles; maps and images; and background information on the boathouse controversy, including letters by members of the Defenders of Potomac River Parkland. Relevant documents are published on NPS' Planning, Environment & Public Comment website.