Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Association

Chesapeake And Ohio Canal Association

Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Association

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The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Association is a not-for-profit organization that supports the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park. Its charter states that the Association is "concerned with the conservation of the natural and historical environment of the C&O Canal and the Potomac River Basin."


In 1954, Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas and a group of conservation-minded fellow hikers walked the C&O Canal from Cumberland, Md., to Washington, D.C. Their aim was to head off a plan to build a highway atop the canal right-of-way. They advocated that a C&O Canal national park be created instead. Two years following the hike, Douglas proposed, and the hiking group unanimously approved, the formation of the C&O Canal Association to promote the national park proposal. The Association organized popular "Reunion" hikes on the canal to publicize the park idea; at the same time, it urged Congress to pass legislation establishing a C&O Canal National Historical Park. These efforts finally yielded fruit in 1971 when Congress enacted the legislation creating the park.

Recent Activity & Objectives

Since 1971, the Association has combined its hiking tradition with volunteer service to the Park. The group sponsors major annual hikes in the spring and fall, as well as a Cumberland-to-Washington Through Hike every fifth year in honor of the famous 1954 hike. The Association also holds many other hiking,...
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