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May 19, 2011

High water closes C&O trails, campgrounds

Stay away from Billy Goat Trail, the Olmstead Island bridges at Great Falls and the Spring Gap and Paw Paw campgrounds at the C&O Canal National Historical Park. All have been closed by the National Park Service because of Potomac River floodwaters.

The high water has covered the towpath near Whites Ferry and Edwards Ferry in Montgomery County, Harpers Ferry in Frederick and Washington counties, and in the Dam 4 area in Washington County.

Several park roads are covered with water and are closed. All hiker-biker campsites and boat ramps are in low-lying areas of the C&O Canal park and should not be used. Visitors may encounter rough and muddy towpath conditions and downed branches and trees throughout the park.

The park service says the river will continue to rise Thursday and is predicted to remain high through the weekend. Areas that are not under water now may be soon.

“The Potomac can be a treacherous and unpredictable river, particularly during periods of high water,” said Kevin Brandt, C&O Canal park superintendent said. “Respect the closures the park staff has put in place, they are for your safety."

Brandt urged park users to keep an eye on the river and have an escape plan. For information on river conditions, visit the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration site.

Posted by Candus Thomson at 12:08 PM |
About Candus Thomson
In a world of paper vs. plastic and candy mint vs. breath mint, my early memories involved a debate about the merits of freshwater vs. saltwater.

On the one hand, a great uncle’s fishing cabin on the Susquehanna River beckoned, but so did family gatherings on the Jersey Shore.

The correct answer, thankfully, was, “both.”

As The Sun’s outdoors writer for more than a decade, I’ve fished across Maryland in one day, hiked the width of the state in one hour, camped overnight in the median of I-95 to experience the wildlife between the fast lanes and chased mountain bikers in a 24-hour marathon race.

Those are some of the highlights. I’ve also fallen in a raging Gunpowder River during a trout survey (photo available upon request), had a shark spill its guts on my clothes and been stuck in a sub-freezing Vermont wilderness with men armed with flintlocks and hatchets, shuffling along on ancient wooden snowshoes.

And, in my travels I’ve met lots of you, who share a love of the outdoors and the good times and mishaps that go along with it.

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