Photo Credit: APNational Park Service (NPS) rangers removed the handles from some 40 public water pumps and closed restrooms in the 184.5 mile- C&O Canal National Historical Park, but they haven’t been able to keep hikers and bikers off the popular trail known as a “cyclist’s dream.”
“It’s full every day,” said Gail Hall, who runs Mountain Side Bikes at the trailhead in Cumberland, Md. “They’re bringing in their own water and utilizing the tree-lined areas [of the park] for restrooms. Some towns like Harper’s Ferry even brought in potties to accommodate them. As long as they can pedal, they don’t care.”
Cumberland Times-News reporter Matthew Bieniek, who first reported that the handles on the park’s old-fashioned water pumps had been removed as part of the federal government shutdown, told CNSNews.com that Park Superintendent Kevin Brandt told him that the pumps had been disabled “to discourage people from attempting to use the park.”
But Michael Nardolilli, president of the non-profit C&O Canal Historical National Park Trust, which runs interpretive programs at the park’s historic lockhouses, later said that the pump handles were removed for “public health reasons.”
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