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Replica boat in Cumberland

The Cumberland in its namesake city. Photo by Doug Zveare.

Association receives $15K grant
for Cumberland boat repairs

December 2014

The C&O Canal Association has received $15,000 to support repair work on the replica canal boat The Cumberland. The grant was made as part of the of the 2014 Challenge Cost Share Program, sponsored by the National Park Service and the Outdoor Foundation to support projects that promote urban outreach, youth engagement and connecting people to the outdoors.

Located in Cumberland, Maryland, the full-sized replica canal boat is used to interpret the canal story to elementary and middle school children in the region.  The gant matches funds committed by the assocation to the repair. The project is being completed in conjunction with Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park and a second park partner, the Canal Place Preservation & Development Authority (CPPDA). Grant funds will allow for replacement of boat decking, window repair, improvement of the drainage systems and other work to extend the life of the boat. 

Repair work on The Cumberland was one of 20 projects selected from 187 applications. The 2014 Challenge Cost Share Program will award nearly $400,000 total.

Built in 1976 as a Bicentennial project, The Cumberland gives NPS staff a great opportunity to introduce local youth to the history of the canal at Cumberland and the environmental connections between the C&O Canal and the Potomac River. About 2,500 visitors, primarily school children, tour the boat each year. However, park officials hope the current repair project, coupled with an expansion of park education programs, will double visitation.

“C&O Canal Association is pleased to expand our support to the educational opportunities of the C&O Canal NHP in Cumberland.  This matching grant will permit completion of the deferred repairs and should result in another 20 years of service for the replica boat.  What a great opportunity this presents”, says William Bauman, a member of the association’s Board of Directors.

 “Nowhere else in the western district of the park, can students get a hands-on understanding of the C&O Canal from a boatman’s perspective,” stated C&O Canal Superintendent Kevin Brandt, “Youth are able to climb aboard the Cumberland and step back into the 19th century, exploring a range of topics from family life to the design and operation of cargo boats on the canal.”

“Repairs to The Cumberland were critical,” said Deidra Ritchie, Executive Director, CPPDA, “We could not have moved forward with the repairs if not for the C&O Canal Association and the National Park Service's time and funding.  It is a perfect example of partnerships and we certainly appreciate all the time and effort.”

C&O Canal Association members have been helping staff The Cumberland during scheduled student tours for many years.  The park is now seeking volunteers who will help staff the boat on summer weekends and thus have the boat open to the general public, in addition to the scheduled student tours.  Please visit http://www.candocanal.org/volunteer.html for more info.

The Challenge Cost Share Program supports National Park Service parks and programs that are aligned with partners. The initiative requires a 1:1 match by the local recipient -- resulting in greater financial leverage. In addition, the Outdoor Foundation is actively seeking additional support for the selected projects. Program priorities include:

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     C & O Canal Association     P.O Box 366      Glen Echo, MD 20812-0366     Phone: 301-983-0825      Email: inquiries@candocanal.org