- Review the 1954 List of Original Hiking Party. Besides D.C., Maryland, and Virginia, what other states did people come from for the hike? Analyze why people would come such distances. Search for information on the following “out-of-towners” to help discuss this phenomenon: Sigurd Olson, Irston Barnes and Victor Cahalane.
- Included in the List of Original Hiking Party is a list of young people. How would the Boy Scouts benefit from the C & O Canal being made into a National Park?
- Analyze the recommendations made by the C & O Canal Committee (later Association) in the Douglas Letter to Honorable McKay. How do the recommendations try to take into account any opposition to making the canal a National Park, especially in regards to the road plan?
- The 2nd recommendation in the Douglas Letter to Honorable McKay mentions that the canal property should have “an adequate budget” and then on page 2 is a list of specific ideas for necessary improvements. Does Douglas/the committee venture into how much these recommendations will cost and where the money will come from? Discuss how monetary issues may affect the proposals.
- In the response letter from Secretary of Interior McKay to Douglas, McKay acknowledges the C & O Canal Committee’s ideas yet leaves room for a different plan to be formulated by the Department of the Interior. What in Secretary of the Interior’s letter gives this indication? What could be the possible differences in the Interior Department’s plan versus the C & O Canal Committee plan? What does the government have to take into account that the C & O Canal Committee may not have considered?
- What in the Excerpts from Colin Ritter’s Personal Diary made him believe that the hikers had much popular support for their cause?
- In 1957 the C & O Canal Committee formerly incorporates itself (see C & O Canal Association Certificate of Incorporation.) What advantages would come from incorporation? What will incorporation allow the C & O Canal Association to do? Research the incorporation laws mentioned in the document to assist you.
- Hagerstown and Frederick, MD opposed the road plan and supported the preservation of the canal, while Cumberland, MD supported the road plan and opposed the preservation plan. Using the 1964 Map of the C & O Canal and Existing Roadways, explain why Hagerstown and Frederick would prefer the preservation and how Cumberland would benefit from the road plan? Include in your analysis the existing roadways and be sure to analyze the Hagerstown Rotary Club support of the preservation (see News-clipping Promoting C & O Canal as Retreat). Could they have had ulterior motives? Looking at other communities on the map, which ones do you believe would support the preservation of the Canal, why? Which ones would support the road plan, why? Are there any communities that may have been neutral, why?
- What in Colin Ritter’s letter to President Nixon assumes Nixon’s support of the Park Bill? How does Anthony Smith’s letter to Secretary of Interior Hickel support the conclusion that the Nixon administration supports the Park Bill? Why do you think the C & O Canal Association included the C & O Canal Petition in the letter to Nixon if they already had Nixon’s support?
- The Potomac Newsletter mentions that private land would need to be acquired between the canal and the river for the National Park. Using the information given in the article how much land would need to be acquired? Discuss whether the acquisition of this land and its proposed use would fall under the Constitutional right of eminent domain (see Constitutional Amendment #5)? What other documents mention the issue of acquiring private property?
- With the signing of the bill making the C & O Canal a National Historical Park, what more needs to be done? Is this the end of the C & O Canal Association? Why should there be people watching over the park development? (See C & O Canal Association Newsletter.)
- The first series of photographs show the canal in use during the early 1920s. (See C & O Canal at Harper's Ferry at Jefferson Rock, C & O Canal with B & O Railroad Running Along Canal , C & O Canal Lock 5 with Mules and Boat , and C & O Canal, Boat ) Compare the photographs. What in the photographs can help explain why the Railroad surpassed the use of canals as the major mode of transportation of goods? Consider such aspects as volume, speed, convenience and efficiency.
- The following photographs were taken during the original 1954 hike led by Justice Douglas: William Douglas Rests on 1954 Hike, Tired Hiker Soaks his Feet , Douglas Leads the 1st Hike, C & O Canal Hikers . Discuss the photographs. What in the photographs tells more about the hike than the written text of the other documents that mention the hike? What do the photographs tell about the commitment of the hikers to the cause of preserving the Canal?