A new phase of the effort to protect the C&O Canal National Historical Park from an intrusive private boathouse began when the National Park Service launched a feasibility study on a non-motorized boathouse zone for the Georgetown waterfront. Public comment on the study is now being accepted until May 24, 2013, through the NPS project website's comment form.
Here are key points to consider in commenting on the feasibility study:
1. No new private development should be permitted within the C&O Canal NHPark. Any new facilities within the park should serve the public and be operated by NPS, either directly or through a concessionaire.
2. Team rowing facilities should be outside of the C&O Canal NHP. Any new facilities for multi-person racing shells should be outside the park.
3. The "Low Density" scenario is the only one of three described in the study that protects the natural, historic and cultural resources of the C&O Canal NHPark while providing new boating facilities at good locations outside the park.
The "Low Density" scenario: retains and enhances existing facilities within the C&O Canal NHPark; includes provisions outside the park for high school and collegiate rowing programs as well as for paddlers and single rowing sculls; acknowledges the sensitive natural, historic and cultural resources within the park; addresses the safety issues along the narrow, congested trailhead of the Capital Crescent Trail/DC Water sewer access area within the park; and protects the "viewshed" within the park/Potomac Gorge, including the scenic views from the Key Bridge, the GW Memorial Parkway, the Canal towpath, the Potomac Heritage Trail, and the American Discovery Trail.
Reasons why the Defenders group does not support the "Medium" and "High Density" scenarios:
The "Medium" and "High Density" scenarios include major new construction inside the C&O Canal NHP. Such structures would: adversely impact adjacent natural, historic and cultural resources within the park; pose new safety and access issues along the narrow, congested trailhead of the Capital Crescent Trail in the park; possibly conflict with an important DC Water sewer project at the gateway to the park; and modify the "viewshed" of the scenic area.
For background, see the study's three development scenarios and maps and the information in this website's News page. Also useful are examples of comments made on the Feasibility Study. Examples of comments from earlier phases of the boathouse issue are on this website's EIS Process and Resources pages. The full text of the feasibility study is posted on the NPS project website, which also provides information on a May 22 open house meeting on the study.
Besides participating in NPS public comment periods, sending a letter is always an effective way to express your support for saving the C&O Canal National Historical Park from private development. Addressees may include:
Interior Department officials:
Honorable Sally Jewell, Secretary of Interior, 1849 C Street NW Washington, DC 20240 (FAX 202-208-6956)
Jonathan Jarvis, Director, National Park Service, 1849 C Street NW, Washington, DC 20240 (FAX 202-208-7889)
Members of Congress:
To find your legislators' contact information, visit the web sites below:
U.S. House of Representatives:
Visit www.house.gov and select the alphabetical list to reach your Representatives' official page, which will provide his or her mailing address and other contact information. Or, select "Write your Representative" for a page that will identify your Representative and provide an e-mail form.
Use your search engine to locate local newspapers, magazines or news web sites. Your comments will be most effective if they are concise and related to recent news stories.
IF YOU CARE, MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD! Protect the C&O Canal National Historical Park from intrusive private development!