— CUMBERLAND — Canal Place officials are moving forward on a plan to bring recreational boat use to the Potomac River and have secured the backing of Mayor Brian Grim and the City Council for the project.
“The city and the council has already sent a letter to support the request to deter mine an appropriate location for a launch,” said Grim.
A request for state assistance in locating the optimum locations for boating docks on the river has been filed by Canal Place officials.
“We are getting a ton of support,” said Dee Dee Ritchie, executive director of Canal Place.
The project would not entertain the idea of removing the dam beneath the Cumberland-Ridgeley Bridge, but would study the areas both above and below the dam to determine where a launch and haul-out site could be established for kayaks and canoes.
Ritchie said the deeper slack-water portion of the river above the dam may be conducive for larger boats.
“Using that portion would be easier and quicker. The slack water goes for 3 miles. It’s deeper and you can get more grant money,” said Ritchie.
“Creating a launch right above the dam might be the best place,” said Grim.
However, the plan is to study both below and above the dam for possible haul-out spots.
“We have both projects in the study area,” said Ritchie.
Canal Place officials also hope to determine the best way to establish a pathway to portage around the dam.
However, chances of having anything in place for this summer are slim. “I have filed out a technical assistance application (with the state) to identify the best possible sites for a portage site,” said Ritchie.
Canal Place officials are also working with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources on the project. The DNR owns an extensive amount of the property along the river below the dam.