Condemned C&O Canal Boat Has Little Chance to Stay Afloat

The beloved C&O Canal boat, the Georgetown, is leaving us. The 19th Century style, mule-pulled, 90-foot cargo boat sits on blocks in the canal between 33rd and Thomas Jefferson Streets. Captivating visitors for a ride along the C&O Canal for decades, the boat has deteriorated and deemed unsafe for passengers.

At Thomas Jefferson Street and the canal there is a June 27 party planned to celebrate the long-serving boat — with a hope the gathering might generate a fund-raising effort to save the boat. (It’s a slim one.)

For years, the National Park Service had set up tours in which visitors, park rangers and volunteers would wear period clothing and describe what life was like for the families that lived and worked on the canal. Despite a signed petition delivered to the NPS, the Georgetown boat will be removed and destroyed

And some of its neighbors are not happy with the decision.

John Noel, chief of division of partnerships of the C&O Canal National Historical Park, had been fighting to keep the boat and tour above board. “The National Park Service and I have looked at all our options, whether it was better to repair the boat or to somehow save it,” Noel said. “Due to the budget crisis, unfortunately we cannot repair it.”

NPS plans to launch a smaller recreational battery-powered boat for canal tours in July.

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Wed, 23 Apr 2014 20:47:20 -0400

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