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C&O Canal Association Receives Awards
For Big Slackwater Efforts

October 17, 2012

Both the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park and the Izaak Walton League of America have honored the C&O Canal Association for its role in the restoration of the towpath Big Slackwater.

bulletRead about Tom Perry and Big Slackwater on the Herald-Mail website.
bulletWatch a video about Tom on the Herald-Mail website.
bulletRead about Tom's award from the Izaak Walton League in the Martinsburg Journal.
bulletSee Tom's history of the Big Slackwater committee.

At the restoration ribbon-cutting ceremony October 13, Kevin D. Brandt, superintendent of the park, presented Association President Rachel Stewart with the Superintendent’s Award for  Excellence in Citizen Stewardship.

Tom Perry received a National Honor Roll Award from the Izaak Walton League of America for his work as chair of the association’s Big Slackwater committee. Tom received the award at a ceremony at the Berkeley County Chapter near Bedington, W.Va., on September 15.

Big Slackwater is a scenic section of the towpath that followed the bank of the Potomac, allowing boats to be towed along a quiet ("slack") part of the river. Once a popular section of the park, the Big Slackwater area suffered damage from floods in 1972, 1985, and 1996. As a result, NPS closed public access, forcing hikers and bikers to make an unsafe 4.7-mile detour along public roads. This Big Slackwater closure was the only gap in the historic towpath between Georgetown, D.C., and Cumberland, Md.

Restoration of Big Slackwater had been a top priority for the C&O Canal Association.  Tom’s committee raised public awareness of the issue.  The association provided $105,000 in funding at critical stages of the project.

In 2005, the C&O Canal Association began a major effort to support restoration, forming the Big Slackwater committee chaired by Tom. In August 2006, C&OCA sponsored a boat trip to demonstrate the erosion and the required repairs to federal and state lawmakers, local officials, and the media. The Association continued to advocate the need to reestablish towpath continuity, and raised awareness of this issue by such means as a petition drive by volunteers positioned near the downriver terminus of the detour.

In August 2007, C&OCA contributed $15,000 as part of matching funds for a grant to support a new engineering study of the Big Slackwater project.

In January 2009, a coalition of organizations and community leaders announced support for Big Slackwater restoration as an issue of the highest priority. To help support and Environmental Assessment of the restoration project, C&OCA on March 7 made an initial donation of $25,000 to NPS. On April 2, C&OCA made a second donation in the amount of $40,000 for the Assessment.

In 2005, the C&O Canal Association began a major effort to support restoration of the Big Slackwater towpath. In August 2006, C&OCA sponsored a boat trip to demonstrate the erosion and the required repairs to federal and state lawmakers, local officials, and the media. The Association continued to advocate the need to reestablish towpath continuity, and raised awareness of this issue by such means as a petition drive by volunteers positioned near the downriver terminus of the detour.

In September 2012 as the restoration neared completion, the C&O Canal Association approved $25,000 for the development of wayside exhibits.  The association’s volunteers provided the manpower for the installation of the exhibits at Big Slackwater, just in time for the official re-opening.

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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