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.