It provides information on over 600 points of interest in the park.
Hagerstown, Md (KM). There’s a new feature for visitors to the C&O National Historical Park. An app called “C&O Canal Discovery” is available for download on Android and Apple devices.
It was developed by the C&O Canal Trust, the official non-profit partner of the C&O National Historical Park, which is part of the National Park Service. “We have been working on this project for three years. We wanted to put together an app that would help visitors explore the park,” says Heidi Schlag, Director of Marketing and Communications for the Trust.
Schlag says the app contains information over 600 points of interest at the park, such as historical sites, trail heads and the locations of parking, restrooms, picnic areas and campgrounds. “If there’s ruins out there, we will tell what those ruins were, and you can learn a little about the canal,” she says. “We have all of the locks, and all of the lock houses pinpointed, and some of the other historical structures that are out there.”
One of the reasons this app was developed was to get young people, who are into technology, to visit the park. “Everything today is going on to technology. People walk about with their phones, and we saw this as really an opportunity,” says Schlag. “There’s so few park rangers out in the parks these days because of budget cuts. So this was a way to sort of put the park ranger in somebody’s pocket.”
But, Schlag says, both the Trust and the National Park Service want you, when visiting the park, to put down your phone and look at all of the features available at the C&O Canal and other parks.
The app can be downloaded from the Google and Apple App stores, or go on line to http://www.canaltrust.org/plan/explorer-mobile-app/ There is a 99-cent fee for downloading this app. “This basically is going to enable us to keep the app up to date and to add some updates,” says Schlag. “We’re a non-profit organization so we’re not trying to get rich on this app. We’re just trying to maintain it and keep it at a high quality for the park users.”
Schlag says the Trust will be adding merchants to the app in the future, such as hotels, bed and breakfast places, restaurants and shops. “We also are going to eventually make the entire 600 points of interest downloadable. So if you’re in an area of the park where there’s no cellular service, you’ll still be able to use the app,” she says.
The C&O Canal National Historical Park extends along the Potomac River from Georgetown in Washington DC to Cumberland, Md., a distance of 184.5 miles and 20,000 acres.
By Kevin McManus