Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas worked to preserve the entirety of the canal resulting in the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park Act signed on January 8, 1971. His 1954 hike along the canal was so valuable to its preservation that in March of 1977, Congress passed legislation dedicating the Canal and towpath to him and recognized him for his long outstanding service as a prominent American conservationist.
The National Park Service was authorized to undertake actions to publicly recognize the contributions of Justice Douglas. A portrait of Justice Douglas painted by Thomas Kozar was unveiled on October 12, 1998 and was hung in the Historic Great Falls Tavern Visitor Center. The portrait was commissioned and funded by:
- C&O Canal Association $1,500
- National Park Service $1,500
- Cathy Douglas Stone $500
(Updated September 2018.)