This past week has been an interesting experience for all of us on the crew here at the C&O Canal NHP. We have been working with the YCC (Youth Conservation Corps), the West Virginia CC and several C&O Canal Maintenance Staff on the most important Resource Management Project of the summer. There is a portion of the C&O Canal that runs parallel to the town of Harper's Ferry, West Virginia. Located here are Locks 33 and 34, with about a mile and a half of original stone masonry walls used during battle in the Civil war on both the Potomac river side and the canal side, as well as the remnants of an armory. The site hasn't been cleared of vegetation since 1987, so you can imagine the amount of work we have cut out for us.
We spent the week falling trees on the river side, cutting about 10 feet into the bank to clear the area and uncover the buried wall. Once the trees are cut, the trees are bucked and swamped (carried) to the chipper, where the wood is made into wood chips. The stumps are treated with water safe herbicide using the cut-stump treatment. The wall on the canal side has been previously sprayed with herbicide, leaving the remnants of the plants to be cut and lopped off the wall, using ladders when the wall gets higher and higher...and higher...and higher...
The project will take another week or two to complete and is on high priority for the park, so we are feeling very useful and confident!
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