WILLIAMSPORT, MD – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) today joined National Park Service and Maryland officials for the official ribbon-cutting ceremony of the restored 2.7 miles section of the historic Big Slackwater Towpath. This section of the historic towpath was closed following extensive flood damage in 1996.
“This is a great day for Washington County and for all of Western Maryland. The restoration of Big Slackwater will bring visitors who want to enjoy the natural beauty of the C&O Canal National Historical Park,” said Senator Cardin, who strongly supported recovery funding for the project. “Western Maryland has become increasingly recognized for its scenic beauty, recreation activities and history and the restoration of the Big Slackwater is an important addition to all this region has to offer.”
The reconstruction of the Big Slackwater section of the C&O Canal National Historical Park took approximately two years and was funded with $12.1 million in Recovery Act funds and $4.4 million in state funds. More than 60 jobs were created during the restoration and it is estimated that many more jobs will result from increased tourism to Washington County and small towns along the C&O Canal.
The project reestablished the towpath along a 4,000-foot stretch of historic walls. Intermittent sections where the retaining wall was missing or washed were reconstructed while other sections required more modest stabilization. The project completes the last link of trail allowing bicyclists to travel, uninterrupted, from Washington, D.C. to Pittsburgh, PA, via the C&O Towpath and the Great Allegheny Passage.