Skip to main content
HomeRiver Access

River Access Issues

Our River Access Committee continues to focus on moves by the authorities and corporations (the C&O Canal Park, Loudoun Parks, and the CSX RR) in Georgetown, Montgomery & Loudoun Counties, and Harpers Ferry that deeply affect our ability to get to the Potomac and tributaries.

CCA Access Goals:

1. Getting the lower C&O Canal re-watered sooner rather than later to facilitate paddling on the river (the Little Falls and Violettes/ GW Canal paddle-back loops)

2. Improving physical access for the elderly, disabled veterans and beginning paddlers at popular access points (Lock 5, Lock 10, Anglers, Violettes)

3. Pressing for access to Goose Creek.

4. Reversing the CSX RR’s blocking the Weverton crossing near Harpers Ferry. We're in discussions, too, with natural allies like Team River Runner and the Washington Canoe Club.

We’re glad to have folks join us who are interested in working on securing or improving access to a specific stream. Dave Cottingham, Jim Findling, and Jim Scott are some who are engaged in specific parts of this. If you are interested, please join us.

Contact Committee Chair Gordon L Lang at

Access to the Potomac between Violettes Lock and Rileys Lock.
CCA successfully sued the US Coast Guard over this.

Canoers Declare Victory In Trump Golf Course Dispute, Gaining Potomac Access _ WAMU

Canoe v. Trump: Local Paddlers Sue Over Potomac Access Next To President’s Golf Course

Washington, DC Area

Fletcher's Cove
Supporting the proposed renovation of the entrance to the area.

C&O Canal Re-watering
John Snitzer and Barb Brown followed up several informal contacts with the C&O NHP by meeting its Superintendent Kevin Brandt and his deputy John Noel at Park HQ up in Hagerstown to discuss how we might cooperate to see that boater interests were taken into account as the Park moves ahead with its $7 million project to refill portions of the Canal between Violettes Lock and Georgetown. We continue to be engaged with them. 

Sandy Beach Steps
Critical boaters' descent from Lock 17 to the Potomac's Mather Gorge - - We and the volunteer part of the C&O Park had scheduled reconstruction and improvement, but lost our priority. Will keep plugging. (Aug 2019)

Goose Creek
    Prime beginner river, closed since 9/11.  We explored likely put-ins, where a facility comparable to the Kephart Landing take-out is in the wind, but found no construction. However, we did find a way to the Goose Reservoir, at Sycolin Road and Golf Course Rapid.  We’ve run a number of trips this season (Aug 2019).  Cruiser_2018_03_March_April


Violettes Lock

GW Canal in VA including working with Calleva to clear the Debris Rapid and other log jams.
Trail accessing Canal at bottom of Breaks.

Lock 10 - improving takeout


Bloede Dam removal project in Patapsco Valley State Park finished.
Article on Bloede Dam from the Baltimore Sun
CCA didn’t have a lot to do with advocating for Bloede dam removal on the Patapsco - American Rivers is taking a lot of credit. However, it has made the lower Patapsco free flowing. 

Seneca Creek - working with Seneca Creek State Park trying to keep it clear of logs.


Supporting Seneca Creek State park at Black Rock Mill - parking issues


Harper's Ferry, WV Area

Weverton RR Crossing
This is the lower take-out in Maryland for boaters running the Needles section of the Potomac and the Staircase section of the Shenandoah past Harpers Ferry. In early Feb, 2018, soon after a meeting of stakeholders, CCA, which was not present,  heard that the CSX RR had put up signs warning boaters and hikers that the RR had declared Weverton to be a “private crossing.” At the same time CSX removed the white posts that informed its engineers to sound warning blasts as their trains approached the crossing. This crossing is used by 20,000 people each year, including users of the Appalachian Trail, which crosses there. CCA and a number of other organizations are working hard on how to effectively counter this move, which has the potential to drastically cut access to one of the most beloved intermediate paddles in our area. 

Weverton Rail Crossing Feasibility Study
CCA's Response to the Weverton Feasibility Study
David Cottingham - Comments on Weverton Feasibility Study
Comment on Weverton Study from Elizabeth Watson

Sandy Hook
Harpers Ferry Beach access
Portage route around dam upstream of Millville