24 Jun Doing it All!
I’m on my 4th week of my internship at the C&O Canal at Great Falls and so far it has been great. All the rangers and seasonals here at the park have been more than welcoming (I even feel like a ranger myself). I’ve had the chance to visit all the C&O Canal sites from Hagerstown, Williamsport, Georgetown and Cumberland. Even though there’s different sites throughout the C&O Canal, all the rangers, seasonals and interns work together to keep the park going. The C&O Canal has 184.5 miles of pure history! It began as a dream of passage to Western wealth. Operating for nearly 100 years the canal was a lifeline for communities along the Potomac River as coal, lumber and agricultural products floated down the waterway to market. Today it endures as a pathway for discovering historical, natural and recreational treasures! These past few weeks have been full of activities, events, field trips and trainings. As part of our programming and outreach activities, Andrea and I were able to meet with the YMCA coordinator here in Potomac and share our ideas in creating Junior Ranger camps for kids, which was a program that was no longer offered at their location. We thought that implementing this program again would help not only youth in becoming more involve, but also as a way to promote the park to their families and share with them the different events we have going on like the Latino Conservation Week. The coordinator was really excited to here our proposals and we are currently working on creating a timeline and camp activities. Hopefully, by the end of July and beginning of August we will have our first week of camps! We then had our safety and gator trainings. (Not all that fun, but necessary in case of emergencies.) Last Saturday, I was able to participate in my first National Day of Service in D.C. along other rangers and interns from different parks and companies. We painted over 600 poles around the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial and Jefferson Memorial. Along with that, I was able to meet and network with different people from all over the states and share ideas on the projects we are all working on at our respective sites. It was definitely a great experience and would definitely do it again! There’s nothing more rewarding than being able to give back to the community and make that place even better for other people to enjoy it. Being from Arizona, it’s gratifying to know that I was able to leave my mark in D.C.
To add to the excitement, this past Wednesday I visited the Paw Paw tunnel in Oldtown, Maryland. The long canal tunnel is 3,118-foot (950 m) on the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal. The tunnel was built to bypass the Paw Paw Bends, a 6-mile stretch of the Potomac River containing five horseshoe-shaped bends. The town, the bends, and the tunnel take their name from the pawpaw trees that grow prolifically along nearby ridges. We had to take flashlights through the tunnel since it was really dark and we got to actually see marks from the ropes that pulled the boats on the wood rails. It’s impressive to see how the tunnel and the towpath are still intact after so many years. Though there has been a couple of rock slides, the National Park Service is still working on finding ways to protect it and keep this historic site whole.
These are just of the event and activities I’ve been doing here at Great Falls. Stay tune for more adventures to come!