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Georgetown Mule-Drawn Boat Unusable, Replaced by Battery-Powered Boat

The National Park Service cites 'significant structural deficiencies' in decision to retire The Georgetown.

The Georgetown, the mule-drawn 1870's replica boat that has carried thousands history enthusiasts along the , has been retired permanently by the National Park Service (NPS) due to "significant structural deficiencies," according to The Georgetown Current.

Want to know more about the history of The Georgetown and the C&O Canal? .

According to The Current, the NPS is in discussions with Georgetown Business Improvement District to assist in raising the necessary funds to create a new boat. Arlette Cahen-Coppock, a local resident and business owner, has even started a petition to “keep a functioning canal barge in Georgetown,” reports The Current.

Just a year ago, , where volunteers helped paint the blue and white wooden boat in preparation for the 2011 season.

Now, the section of the NPS website that promotes public canal boat rides — "take a trip back in time to the 1870's!" — now advises visitors that in Georgetown "Rides are suspended indefinitely." Rides are still available on The Charles F. Mercer at Great Falls beginning April 15.

For the forseable future, a battery-powered boat will be the short-term solution in Georgetown as the NPS seeks fundraising support to build a replica.

The C&O Canal spans 184 miles between Georgetown and Cumberland, MD.

ralph March 18, 2012 at 05:36 PM
They could use a battery-powered boat and keep the mules too. They can walk along the towpath tethered to the boat, just enough effort to keep the lines from going slack. That's how all the politicians work. We've all seen work horses replaced by show-horses, but only in Washington would they replace a work mule with a show mule. In New Orleans, the horse drawn carriages were once pulled by horses, but people complained a lot about mistreatment. They switched to mules. Mules are more durable in the humidity and heat, and no one ever complains about mules being mistreated either.

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