Author Topic: National Park Service proposes charges for the C & O Trail (incl. camp fees)  (Read 5923 times)

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Offline adventurepdx

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http://thekojonnamdishow.org/shows/2015-01-12/charging_for_the_c_o_canal_national_historical_park?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+WAMU885KojoNnamdi+%28The+Kojo+Nnamdi+Show+from+WAMU+88.5%29

http://www.candocanal.org/NPS.html

The biggest change proposed for touring cyclists is for the hiker/biker sites along the path. Currently they are free, NPS is proposing a charge of $20, which would be the same proposed fee as drive-in sites.

Offline staehpj1

Wow! $20 for the hiker biker sites seems expensive given what they are, mostly a small patch of grass with a nearby pump that is likely to have really bad tasting water.

The towpath is pretty far down on my list anyway despite living pretty close to it, but that fee would be enough to take it off my list entirely.

If this goes forward, I wonder if they will waive the fee for holders of NPS senior passes or other passes?

Offline jamawani

I commented on the NPS website - - blasted the hell outta them.
The reality is that the NPS caters to auto and RV visitors.
They like to complain about the number of cars - but they never do anything.
$20 for hiker/biker sites - - just pave it and fill it with RVs.

indyfabz

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$20? Geeze. On the GAP I stayed at the private Husky Haven Campground in Rockwood. Porta-potties, picnic table and free, sheltered firewood at every site. While there is no running water on site, campers may use the guest house across the river in town, where there is an ample supply of gallon milk jugs for water to bring back to the campground. (The owner returns the jugs after you leave.) Use of the bath houses and the common ammenities of the guest house (e.g., pool table, bike washing area) are included in the fee, which was only $10.

Offline cheesehawk

"The towpath is pretty far down on my list anyway despite living pretty close to it,"

Hey,

I'm planning on using the C&O and GAP as the first leg in my cross-country tour at the end of April. Can you expand on it a bit as to why it is so far down your list? Are there better alternatives for getting to Ohio?

-Mark

Offline adventurepdx

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My two cents: Free camping is always appreciated, but I can understand why the National Park Service would want to start charging something for camping. Still, I think $5 per person for hiker/biker camping is more in line with what I've seen elsewhere, including other National Parks like Glacier.

Offline staehpj1

I'm planning on using the C&O and GAP as the first leg in my cross-country tour at the end of April. Can you expand on it a bit as to why it is so far down your list? Are there better alternatives for getting to Ohio?

I am generally just not inclined to use that type of route.  If you want to be away from traffic and on a relatively flat route it accomplishes that quite well.  It also has the advantage of not having to worry about where you will camp since there are hiker biker sites every several miles.  So it may work well for you and I am not knocking it.

It is just that I personally would rather be on regular surface roads and pass through small towns.  Also if going across the middle of the country again I'd be more inclined to take the Trans America again or take an improvised route that followed a similar path.  So I probably wouldn't be looking to get to Ohio either.

None of that should be taken as saying that you shouldn't use the C&O or head for Ohio.  It just isn't really my cup of tea. I'd rather ride a bit of the Blue Ridge Parkway and see SW Virginia, Kentucky and Missouri.  That would be harder though, and when we did it we went W-E so we'd be road hardened and in shape for the Appalachians (which on the TA were harder than anything we saw in The Cascades or Rockies on that route).

I will suggest that the C&O might be likely to be a muddy mess in April though.  I could imagine it being pretty unpleasant especially if on a touring bike or a road bike and I personally wouldn't want to ride a mountain bike for the rest of the trip.

Offline cheesehawk

Thanks for the input. For (very) late April and early May I agree that the risk of mud is real. I'm working on alternative routing in case this proves to be a problem. This would put me on country roads through small towns, but in Pennsylvania and Maryland instead of Kentucky and Missouri.

I seriously considered doing the TransAm, but ultimately I saw more pros to a self-designed route. I've still got a lot of years ahead of me. If this trip goes well then I may very well do the TransAm as published one day.

indyfabz

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I'm working on alternative routing in case this proves to be a problem. This would put me on country roads through small towns, but in Pennsylvania and Maryland instead of Kentucky and Missouri.

If you are not set on starting in D.C. or can get yourself up to it, you might consider signed PA Bike Route S to get around the C&0:

ftp://ftp.dot.state.pa.us/public/pdf/bikes/state_mapS.pdf

Heading west, Route S joins the GAP at Rockwood, PA. However, you can take U.S. 220 from Bedford, PA to Cumberland, MD if you want to pick up the GAP from the beginning. I did the reverse when I rode from PGH to Philly in 2013. I picked up U.S. 220 north of Cumberland by following smaller roads out of town. The road has a decent shoulder and traffic was not that heavy on a Monday afternoon. Let me know if you want the exact routing between Bedford and Cumberland. Personally, I found the portion of the GAP between Rockwood and Cumberland to be the most interesting so I wouldn't miss that portion if possible.

Also, if you pick up Route S anywhere east of Hustontown, PA and have a strong from light or headlamp you can take an easy detour from the route and ride a stretch of the abandoned portion of the PA Turnpike. Very neat ride (It was used in the filming of "The Road" starring Viggo Mortensen), but there are two long tunnels that are not lit, hence the need for a good light. At the western end of the rideable portion you will find yourself back on Route S at Breezewood, PA.

Offline cheesehawk

Thanks for the suggestion Indyfabz. We have friends in DC who are expecting us, but that does look like a very cool route.

Offline PeteJack

I'm working on alternative routing in case this proves to be a problem. This would put me on country roads through small towns, but in Pennsylvania and Maryland instead of Kentucky and Missouri.

If you are not set on starting in D.C. or can get yourself up to it, you might consider signed PA Bike Route S to get around the C&0:

ftp://ftp.dot.state.pa.us/public/pdf/bikes/state_mapS.pdf

Heading west, Route S joins the GAP at Rockwood, PA. However, you can take U.S. 220 from Bedford, PA to Cumberland, MD if you want to pick up the GAP from the beginning. I did the reverse when I rode from PGH to Philly in 2013. I picked up U.S. 220 north of Cumberland by following smaller roads out of town. The road has a decent shoulder and traffic was not that heavy on a Monday afternoon. Let me know if you want the exact routing between Bedford and Cumberland. Personally, I found the portion of the GAP between Rockwood and Cumberland to be the most interesting so I wouldn't miss that portion if possible.

Also, if you pick up Route S anywhere east of Hustontown, PA and have a strong from light or headlamp you can take an easy detour from the route and ride a stretch of the abandoned portion of the PA Turnpike. Very neat ride (It was used in the filming of "The Road" starring Viggo Mortensen), but there are two long tunnels that are not lit, hence the need for a good light. At the western end of the rideable portion you will find yourself back on Route S at Breezewood, PA.
+1 I rode Route S from near Philly to Rockwood. Some of it is fairly busy roads but much of it is highly rural PA e.g. Burnt Cabins. The western part is quite hilly. I managed to miss the old turnpike tunnels as you will if you follow the Route S signs, perhaps as well as I didn't have much in the way of lights or a map to show me where the tunnels were. i was unimpressed by the GAP. When it's wet the crushed gravel makes a paste that clings to your bike, especially to fenders. i ended up sharing a room with a complete stranger in Ohiopyle because the camping facilities near there were so poor.

Offline radarider

It was reveled at the Hancock meeting this evening that the NPS is backing off on their intent to raise entrance fees and impose a $20 per night fee at all of the hiker/biker campsites.  Instead, they are going to focus on collecting parking fees at Great Falls Tavern to close the budget shortfall.  It was also discussed that the NPS C&O Canal owns some rather expensive and sophisticated “paving” equipment, however, has only enough discretionary funds to resurface only, ONLY two miles this fiscal year and no means to pay qualified personnel to properly and safely operate the paving machine.  If that wasn’t enough there apparently is a whole slue of deferred maintenance items (locks, culverts, aqueducts, wears, etc…) and the general mentality by management is to let them fail before any genuine effort is forward to repair much less maintain them.   In light of these facts, it is apparent that the entire infrastructure of the 184.5 mile canal/towpath is doomed to collapse into disrepair and ruin.