Creating a National Park

Creating a National Park (HMXNC)

Location: Potomac, MD 20854 Montgomery County
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Country: United States of America
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N 38° 59.945', W 77° 14.92'

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[Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park]

"It is a refuge, a place of retreat, a long stretch of quiet and peace at the Capital ?"William O. Douglas.

Look around you. The park you stand in exists because people cared. In January 1954, Justice William O. Douglas of the Supreme Court of the United States responded to a Washington Post editorial, recommending that the C&O Canal be turned into a parkway. Writing in support of preserving the canal as a national park, Douglas wrote, "It is a sanctuary for everyone who loves woods - a sanctuary that would be utterly destroyed by a fine two lane highway." He invited the editors and other reporters to join him on a hike of the entire canal to enjoy its beauty and better understand his point. Merlo Pusey, who wrote the editorial, and his editor Robert Estabrook accepted the challenge.

On March 22, 1954, the hike began near Cumberland. Douglas and his companions invited authorities on the natural and cultural history of the Potomac River and the C&O Canal to join them. The hikers learned about the canal and enjoyed the scenery. After the hike, Estabrook wrote an editorial in the Post supporting setting the canal aside as a national park. The walk, and the news stories it generated, motivated hundreds to fight to save the canal. In 1961 the C&O Canal was preserved as a National Monument. Through Douglas's action and the efforts of those he inspired, this park was preserved for you to enjoy. If you would like to learn what you can do to help care for the park, visit the nearest park visitor center.

Photo captions:
Douglas, in the white shirt, and his companions hiked over 20 miles a day. Few hikers could maintain Douglas's pace.

The hikers at the hike's end in Georgetown. As the hikers reach the outskirts of Washington, D.C. other people joined them. The hike inspired many people to join in the efforts to create Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park.
Series This marker is part of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal series
Placed ByChesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park - National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Monday, October 27th, 2014 at 3:21pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 305270 N 4319080
Decimal Degrees38.99908333, -77.24866667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 38° 59.945', W 77° 14.92'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds38° 59' 56.70" N, 77° 14' 55.20" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)240, 301
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 999 Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Towpath, Potomac MD 20854, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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