The National Park Service will present the findings of a study that examined the possibility of establishing a new kayak launch site in Georgetown, on the D.C. side of the Potomac. The area being considered includes Jack's Boathouse, the Potomac Boat Club (just upstream of Jacks's), and the Washington Canoe Club (just upstream of Potomac).
The good news: the study recognized that paddling is becoming more popular, and that we need more river access. The bad news: This is just the first step in a long bureaucratic process, and there's no guarantee about when or even whether anything might happen.
The previous public workshop produced widespread agreement that the Washington Canoe Club building should remain, but that more facilities should be built. The undecided question is what and where. The most widely supported site for a new ramp or boathouse is just downstream of Key Bridge, between the bridge and the new waterfront park. The least agreement was about what -- if anything -- should go on the vacant land just upstream of the Washington Canoe Club.
I was surprised how many comments are in the public record opposing any "commercial" activity on National Park land, from members of Friends of the C&O Canal National Park. Presumably these elitist anti-capitalist pinheads are unaware of, or even opposed to, the kayak launching and rental facilities in Yellowstone, our very first National Park -- often considered the crown jewel of our National Park system.
The study outlines three possible scenarios: low, medium, and high density development. Details of these scenarios are at pages 58-63 of the study. The most important point for kayakers: EVEN THE LOWEST-DEVELOPMENT SCENARIO envisions a new launch site upstream of the Washington Canoe Club, a new launch site between the Potomac Boat Club and the Washington Canoe Club, AND a new boathouse just downstream of Key Bridge.
The study is here: http://parkplanning.nps.gov/document.cfm?parkID=463&projectID=39727&documentID=53024
COMMENTS ON THE STUDY ARE DUE BY MAY 24. Comments will be added to the appendix of the study.
The May 22 meeting will consist of an open house with a short presentation. Park Service staff will be on hand to answer questions. For more information, contact Tammy Stidham of the National Park Service at (202)[masked] or [masked].