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Association adopts Swain's Lock picnic area and campground

by Rachel Stewart
Published September 2011

Picnic area sign
Signs at Swains Lock
Above - Picnic area sign.
Below - Campsite sign.
Note: The signs were given fresh paint. Some were repaired and firmly re-set in the appropriate locations. Photos by Geordie Newman.
Campsite sign

The C&O Canal Association has adopted the picnic area and campground at Swain's Lock. John Wheeler and I are the primary contacts for this project, and our Park coordinator is Geordie Newman. The Stewardship Agreement with the Park was signed in May, 2011, and scheduled the first monthly cleanup for June 11, 2011.

In late March Geordie and I checked the site; we found two day-use areas and five campsites. The day-use areas should have had a grill and a picnic table, but there were no tables (one was in the creek, broken, and is still there). Each campsite should have a grill, picnic table, and fire ring. Only one had all three. Three sites lacked at least one of these items. One campsite had only a sign.

Nineteen of Jim Heins's VIPs showed up for the first cleanup. Skip Magee came early and mowed all the areas where we would be working. He also weed-whacked around tree trunks, signposts, and grill posts. He works harder than anyone else I know and always with a smile. We hauled, spread and tamped four tons of stone dust as pads for the picnic tables. We cleaned, wire-brushed and painted the fire rings and grills. We sanded and painted the tables, locking them down to prevent vandals or the river from carrying them off. Some grills and signs were dug up and reset in better places. We installed new fire rings and/or grills where they were missing. Lastly, we painted the signs. One campsite has a very shabby table. Geordie Newman is trying his best to get a new one for us. On July 15 nine of us cleaned tables, shoveled ash and debris from fire rings and grills, picked up trash, mowed the grass and, alas, disturbed the occupants of several tents. We cut away a swath of kudzu invading the access to the site. We appreciate the help of all members who can assist with this continuing stewardship. Thanks go to Geordie Newman for the photos below.

Picnic area sign
Painting a picnic table. Photo by Geordie Newman.

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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