NEW Overnight parking system
Before parking a vehicle overnight in any Canal Parking area, visitors must register their vehicle through the new online registration system. Print your reciept and place on your dashboard. If unable to print, please visit the nearest visitor center. More »
Water Pump Handles Temporarily Removed
Water pump handles at Bald Eagle Island, Jordan Junction and Big Woods Hiker Biker Campsites have been removed due to bad water samples. Handles will be reinstalled when good water samples are received.
Boat Tours at Great Falls
Due to low water levels in the Great Falls area, call the Great Falls Tavern Visitor Center (301-767-3714) in advance of your trip to confirm the mule-drawn boat tour schedule.
Parking Lot Closure
CSX is now beginning a phase of their bridge project that requires the closure of the Lock 74 parking lot for approximatly 18 months. Access to visitor parking near Lock 75 is now re-opened with a gravel parking lot at the site.
There are over 1000 known species of bats, just about a fourth of all mammal species. Bats are a vital part of our ecosystem eating many crop damaging insects such as stink beetles and leafhoppers as well as pollinating fruit trees. Nearly 40% of American bat species are in severe decline or already listed as endangered or threatened.
The Indigo Tunnel located on the Western Maryland Rail Trail near Hancock, Maryland is home to eight species of hibernating bats including the Maryland state endangered Eastern small-fotted myotis (Myotis leibii), and the federally endangered Indiana bat (Myotis sodalis).
White Nose Syndrome
The C&O Canal NHP has worked actively with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources to monitor this site, paying close attention to the threat of White Nose Syndrome (WNS). WNS is caused by a cold-loving fungus that grows on bats when they are hibernating. The fungus found on the muzzles, wings, and exposed skin tissues disrupts the normal hibernating pattern causing bats to arouse too frequently and starve to death.
The Indigo Tunnel was studied in March 2010 and no signs of WNS were found. In order to prevent the possible spread of WNS and protect hibernating bats, the tunnel is closed to the public. Bat gates have been installed at both ends of the tunnel to ensure bat safety.
Did You Know?
There are several gold mines in the Great Falls area. The largest of these is the Maryland Mine located at the intersection of Falls Road and MacArthur Boulevard near Potomac, Maryland. Gold was first discovered here by a Union soldier from Pennsylvania during the Civil War.