Bringing It Home

The kids at Seven Locks Elementary School in Bethesda have a special link to the C&O Canal. First, their school is named after the stretch of the canal that has seven locks along it (locks are mechanisms that help boats go to a higher or lower water level). And, second, they are trying to help replace Great Falls Park's tour boat, called the Canal Clipper.

Last year, park rangers took the 30-year-old boat out of service because of cracks in the concrete hull. That happened just before second-graders from Seven Locks were to ride the boat on a field trip. A new boat could cost as much as several hundred thousand dollars.

So this year, as third-graders, the same students organized a fundraising walk along the canal. The walk, which took place last month, raised more than $3,000 toward a new boat.

Even though you can't ride the Canal Clipper, there's still a park program at Great Falls on how locks work. And if you go to Georgetown, you can ride the canal boat there called the Georgetown (it's a younger boat than the Canal Clipper and has a fiberglass hull). For more information, visit Or call 202-653-5190 for information about Georgetown; 301-767-3714 for information about Great Falls.