The C&O Canal National Historical Park includes many different habitats as it travels from the mountains around Cumberland to the coastal plain of Washington DC. This, a variety of water sources, preserved woodland, and different rock formations within the park provide excellent habitat for many animal species. Because of this, C&O NHP is one of the most biodiverse parks in the National Park System.
Please enjoy and observe wild animals from a distance. Photograph all wildlife from a safe distance. Use telephoto lenses and observe quietly. It is dangerous and illegal to feed wild animals including ducks and geese in national parks. Wildlife can become dependent on handouts and lose their ability to forage for food causing them to starve. Such animals can lose their fear of humans and become aggressive.
Animals can be very protective of their young and can become aggressive if cornered. Never approach or feed wildlife. Also they can be infected with the rabies virus and can infect you or your pet if bitten or scratched.
If you encounter an animal that is acting strangely or an animal has attacked you, immediately report it to our emergency Dispatch Center 866-677-6677. Please visit the CDC website to learn more about rabies.
Pets must be on a leash no longer than 6 feet at all times.
Loose or feral pets often disturb or kill wildlife or their newborns. Protective wildlife parents can be aggressive and could harm you or your pet. Keep wildlife and your pets safe by observing the leash law.
Help us keep wildlife wild!