Monday, May 29, 2006

Protect C&O Canal NHPark from private development - Send a letter

Act now, and spread the word.

The National Park Service (NPS) has released an Environmental Assessment (EA) on the Georgetown University (GU) boathouse for public comment. The boathouse is proposed for a location within the C&O Canal National Historical Park at the narrow, busy, fragile gateway to one of the crown jewels of our entire National Park System. The site is a wooded, tidal floodplain containing wetlands, at the entrance to the Capital Crescent Trail (CCT) and the Potomac Gorge, and near the historic Canal towpath/levee. No construction should be allowed at that location, much less an enormous GU boathouse -- almost the length of a football field -- for one group of collegiate rowers.

Please help protect the Park from this misguided proposal by sending a letter to NPS expressing your opposition to the plan. Request a comprehensive study and full Environmental Impact Statement of the entire waterfront that will take a truly "hard look" at alternative locations outside the Park for three new boathouses proposed for the area.

Instead of building within the Park, GU should build outside the Park on more accessible and degraded land (such as land at 34th St. and K/Water Sts., next to the proposed site for another private boathouse for George Washington University). A location outside the Park for the $15-17 million GU facility would have many environmental, technical, safety and practical advantages, while protecting the wild and scenic C&O Park for the enjoyment of everyone

Two sample letters and a fact sheet about the proposal are available at -- website for Defenders of Potomac River Parkland, an alliance of 21 civic, conservation and recreation organizations and thousands of individuals opposed to the current plan. (Deadline for submitting comments on the EA is June 15.)

Thanks for your interest, and please spread the word!

Sally Strain
DC Resident and
DC Coordinator, Defenders of Potomac River Parkland
(202) 363-4546

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