Cumberland Times-News

Local News

August 30, 2013

Officials promote creation of Potomac River boat launch site

CUMBERLAND — Several state and local government representatives, along with natural resource officials and area proponents of the Potomac River attended a boat launch on Friday to promote river recreation and show support for the creation of a launching site on the river.

Cumberland City Council members Nick Scarpelli and Nicole Wagoner, along with Jim Thompson, a fisheries biologist with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, and Serena McClain of American Rivers, a Washington based organization that supports river projects, attended the launch.

“This is another way to get people to utilize the river. When people use it they become better stewards of the river,” said McClain.

Two kayaks and a canoe were launched from the banks into the Potomac from a site just below the Canal Place property. Thompson, Scarpelli and Wagoner, as well as local river proponent Roger Powers of Ridgeley, W.Va., took to the water.

“We want to raise awareness. The DNR in general wants to get more access to the river for fishing and recreation,” said Thompson.

Also present at the event were Julianna Albowicz from Sen. Barbara Mikulski’s office; Robin Summerfield, field representative for Sen. Ben Cardin; Dee Dee Ritchie, executive director of Canal Place; and Stuart Czapski, executive director of the Chamber of Commerce.

“The number of people coming to Canal Place is impressive; adding river recreation would bring that much more,” said Thompson.

The scenic railroad and the Great Allegheny Passage have increased tourism for Canal Place and Cumberland, according to tourism statistics.

“If there were a water aspect to it, it would be great. You could bike and you could get on the water,” said McClain.

Several officials that advocate for the river have been supporting smaller projects since the larger River Project has slowed while funding is sought.

The River Project plans for the removal of the dam beneath the Cumberland-Ridgeley Bridge to develop a recreation area and return the waterway to its natural state.

However, funding in the amount of $75,000 needed for testing the sediment behind the dam for toxins has been slow in coming.

“There is a chance we will move forward with (testing) this fall. I’m talking to the Maryland Geological Survey to do some of the work,” said McClain.

However, there are no guarantees.

“There’s a chance it may have to wait until spring,” said McClain.

Preliminary testing of the sediment three years ago showed the presence of toxins such as dioxin.

However, McClain has been encouraged that the toxins found did not seem to be deep in the sediments.

“Those tests we did then showed the toxins were near the surface and not deeper,” said McClain.

More comprehensive testing will be needed to reveal the scope of any cleanup project that may be required to move forward.

River advocates are remaining optimistic.

“I really believe we can brand our area as a health and wellness community,” said Wagoner.

Greg Larry can be contacted at

Text Only
Local News
  • Easter experience Easter experience

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Game on: City interested in baseball study

    After it looked like the objection of a couple of constituents to a study on the feasibility of bringing a minor league baseball team to the area may have torpedoed the thought, county commissioners and some city officials sounded ready to sing a chorus of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” on Thursday.

    April 18, 2014

  • DEREK SHEELY Charges against helmet maker stand in case of Frostburg player’s death

    A Montgomery County judge this week declined to dismiss charges against a helmet manufacturer in a case brought by the parents of a Frostburg State University football player who died of head injuries in August 2011 following four straight days of heavy contact drills in practice.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • GAYLE MANCHIN W.Va. BOE president speaks on issues at WVSDB

    West Virginia Board of Education President Gayle Manchin responded to issues at the West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and the Blind during an interview with the Times-News Wednesday morning.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • REGINALD REDMAN Moorefield man jailed on felony drug count

    A Moorefield man was arrested on various charges Thursday, including a felony drug offense for possession of amphetamines, according to the Keyser Police Department.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Blossoming optimism Blossoming optimism

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Cemetery group’s efforts revive Oak Hill grounds Cemetery group’s efforts revive Oak Hill grounds

    After you drive Alexander and Furnace streets then navigate a couple of switchbacks on Cemetery Road, you’d figure there would be no more uphill.

    April 17, 2014 2 Photos

  • Proposed county budget holds most agencies flat

    After taking into account an income tax shortfall, Allegany County Finance Director Jason Bennett said he’ll propose a budget that holds most outside agencies to flat funding and funds the Board of Education at what county officials say are maintenence of effort levels for 2015.

    April 17, 2014

  • RYAN WOLF Wolf named 2014-15 Garrett Teacher of the Year

    Southern Garrett High School teacher Ryan Wolf has been named the 2014-15 Garrett County Teacher of the Year.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Rep. Delaney discusses congressional gridlock Rep. Delaney discusses congressional gridlock

    While giving a civics lesson at Frostburg State University on Thursday, U.S. Rep. John Delaney, congressman from Maryland’s sixth district, told students that the polarization in Congress is due primarily to redistricting and a poorly designed Congressional schedule.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

Must Read
News related video
Ceremony Marks 19th Anniversary of OKC Bombing Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Calif. Investigators Re-construct Fatal Bus Cras Appellate Court Hears Okla. Gay Marriage Case Horseless Carriage Introduced at NY Auto Show Chelsea Clinton Is Pregnant Beau Biden Plans 2016 Run for Del. Governor Flamingo Frenzy Ahead of Zoo Construction Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups Obama Hopeful on Ukraine, Will Watch Russians U.S. Sending Nonlethal Aid to Ukraine Military