Become a Level Walker

What Is a Level Walker?

Level Walkers are C&O Canal Association volunteers who are assigned one or more sections of the canal to walk on a regular basis, monitoring the status of historic structures, checking facilities, reporting any problems to NPS, and removing trash. The towpath is 184.5 miles long. The park service is understaffed. They welcome the Association’s help to keep the towpath in good condition. This is a wonderful way to enjoy the canal while helping to maintain it. Level walkers must be:

  • Members of the C&O Canal Association
  • Willing and able to carry out Level Walker duties
  • Signed to an annual Volunteer Service Agreement with the National Park Service

If you want to become a Level Walker, the Level Walker chair will assign you a level, taking into consideration your preferences for the length of the level, location of the level, and special interests.

What Do Level Walkers Do?

  1. Walk the assigned level a minimum of once a year, but ideally 3-4 times a year, or seasonally
  2. Assist in litter pickup and other light maintenance along the level.
  3. Submit a written report in a timely manner after each walk. The report includes data on human usage, and comments on flora and fauna, the conditions of the level and canal structures, and the quantity of litter. Level Walker reports may be submitted to the Level Walker chair by regular mail or e-mail. The reports are the basis for the Level Walker chair’s report at board meetings and the Annual meeting. In addition, they are summarized in the Association’s quarterly newsletter, Along the Towpath, and copies of them are sent to the Park Superintendent and kept in the Association’s archives.

For more information contact:

Steve Dean
Level Walker Chair, C&O Canal Association

Level Walker and dog on towpath

Level walker and companion approach Lock 56

Read Steve Dean’s
Level Walker blog:

What Is a Canal Level?

For the purposes of the Level Walker Program, the 184.5 miles of the canal have been divided into 69 segments, varying in length from a little over a mile to more than 5 miles, but usually 2-3 miles long. These segments are called levels.

View the list of levels.

Report Formats

Submitting your Level Walker report isn’t as much fun as spending a couple of hours on the towpath, but it is an important step in helping the  Association and NPS monitor the condition of the towpath.

Choose the method which is easiest for you:

  • Use the Microsoft Word template. Complete the report and email it as an attachment to Steve,
  • Use HTML format. Paste it directly into your email. Complete the report in your email editor. Email it to Steve.
  • Print one of the standard forms. Complete it by hand. Drop it in an envelope. Mail it to Steve at:
    PO Box 132
    Saint Leonard MD 20685

Feel free to delete any sections of the standard form which don’t apply to your level.