For Teachers

a ranger shows the mules to two boys at the Georgetown C&O Canal Visitor Center
A Park Ranger makes introductions at the C & O Canal Visitor Center in Georgetown before a ride on a canal boat.

Ecology, History and Culture

Places associated with the PHT network collectively trace the evolution of the the Nation, and various trails and routes provide a means to explore and learn about the diverse geography and history of the PHT corridor from the Tidewater Potomac to the Allegheny Highlands. Topics include American Indian and colonial heritage; the Civil War, including defenses constructed to defend the Nation's capital; working lands and waters; industrial heritage; and conservation and ecological restoration.

From menhaden fleets to Aquia sandstone, from shellfish to timber, the bounty of the Tidewater has provided sustenance to the region; shipping lanes of the tidal Potomac are now teeming with paddlers and pleasure craft. The Piedmont was once the breadbasket of America and a place of water-powered industrial innovation. The ribbon of land developed as the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal is now one of the Nation's most-visited national parks. The Alleghenies were a center for coal and timber; today ridges and rivers of western Maryland and the Laurel Highlands are famous for hiking, paddling, backpacking, bicycling and fishing, and railroads through the Allegheny Plateau became today's Great Allegheny Passage.

Many segments of the PHT network can be used to accomplish educational objectives. The Nature and Science section provides some content for a few areas and many Trail management partners offer program and curriculum guides. The documents below provide some ideas, and are available on request:

  • Changing Landscapes of the Potomac: A Framework for Curriculum Development and On-Site Education (2006)
  • Historical Contexts for Fort Circle Parks: A Framework for Curriculum Development and On-Site Education (2004)
Please click on "Contact Us" to suggest additional resources.


Last updated: January 17, 2018

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

Potomac Heritage NST Office
National Park Service
1100 Ohio Drive SW

Washington , DC 20242


This phone will reach the main line for the C&O Canal National Historical Park.

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