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Access fees proposed for 1st time along entire C&O Canal

HAGERSTOWN — The National Park Service wants to start charging entrance fees for the first time along the entire length of the nearly 185-mile Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park starting May 1.

The agency said Monday the fees are critical to the park’s operation.

It currently collects entrance fees only at the Great Falls Tavern in Potomac. The vehicle fee is $5 for a three-day pass.

That would change to $15 for a seven-day pass from the District of Columbia to Seneca Creek, 22 miles upstream. Visitors further west would pay $5 for a seven-day vehicle pass, rising to $15 in 2017.

The agency is also proposing fees for people entering the park on foot, bicycle or motorcycle, and for hiker-biker campsites.

A public comment period ends Feb. 22.


  1. I feel it is fair to charge motorists to park. But do not charge hikers and cyclists – this is a basic right – freedom of movement on public lands!

  2. Occasionally I have enjoyed a hike along the C&O canal. There are some scenic spot I would miss visiting, but are not worth $5-15 per outing to me. There are plenty of very pretty places I can hike for free.

  3. I am generally opposed to paying a fee to walk the tow-path – however if a fee were to be imposed, then it must be administered in such a way as a one-time/annual fee. Charging each time to escape to the wilds of the tow-path is an insane idea.