For years, the two major structural flaws in the C&O Canal NHP were the two missing spans of the Catoctin Creek Aqueduct and the eroded towpath at Big Slackwater. Fixing both of these problems has been in the works for a while, and I’m pleased to sat that the Catoctin Aqueduct has been restored to its original beauty. During our last two through rides, we have noticed the progress being made on the aqueduct, so we decided to take a look at the recently completed product. It may have been a forty mile drive, but it was time well spent–the new span is nothing short of breathtaking!
In 1973, most of the old aqueduct fell into the creek, and those who traveled the towpath crossed the stream on a wooden-planked steel bridge (no longer standing).
We have mainly biked this section of the canal, and it’s very easy to miss the scenery at 10-12 mph. However, this immaculate stone structure is sure to stop even those with the worst cases of tunnel vision.
One of the more interesting aspects of the rebuilding of the aqueduct is that people were able to donate money specifically for the placement of individual stones. As members of the C&O Canal Association, we recognized the names of more than one contributor. Now were lamenting that fact that we didn’t buy a stone of our own.
As stated, the aqueduct is a thing of beauty, and that leaves Big Slackwater as the next big thing on the structural to-do list. It is scheduled for completion in the summer of 2012. I guess you could say that the future of the C&O Canal NHP is looking good.