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Reply to Resurfacing the C&O around Brunswick

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Reply to Resurfacing the C&O around Brunswick
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Bike traveller from Austin,Texas on 7/18/2019 8:48:04 PM:
I noticed they’re resurfacing the C&O around Brunswick. The new surface was a lot easier to ride on than what I’d seen closer to Cumberland.

Perrin Clark from Lovettsville VA. on 12/27/2019 5:00:01 PM:
I am disappointed in how the trail looks. What is the stuff being put down. ??? It takes away from the historical feel of the trail. It looks awful. To bad that it is being done. Very sad. Ugh.

Anonymous on 12/27/2019 9:34:29 PM:
I am saddened by this project and it’s effect on the historic character of the Tow Path. I love the grassy medians and the feel of being out in a country setting. The new surface is unappealing and gives one the feel of an urban walking/biking path. You are destroying History and the character of this Historic landmark. More people, more traffic, more speed will only ruin the beauty of this National Historic Park. Please stop this expensive, nonsensical project. It is unnecessary, environmentally unfriendly, and unsightly. Who did the research for this project and why weren’t the local population and users of this Tow Path consulted? It is disgraceful!

Willy from Alexandria VA on 12/27/2019 9:49:02 PM:
I'm sorry you are saddened. That being said, I wish the resurfacing was done at approximately mile 170- 175 instead of Brunswick. That section needs resurfacing more than Brunswick, but I am not the one singing the checks.

tom from pittsburgh on 12/28/2019 5:26:10 PM:
I think that most people who have walked or biked this trail have a deep respect for the historical features of this area and specifically the trail itself. The many times that I have biked the C&O it crossed my mind many times that I was riding the same surface that was walked by the canal boat mules a hundred years ago. That sentiment aside, I have also pushed a fully loaded bike through miles and miles of unrideable mud. It seems as though the past few years have been especially wet and in my opinion the C&O surface should be upgraded to eliminate the heavy mud conditions that have ended many a trip early. I am certainly not in favor of asphalt paving which very much adds to excessive speeds and infinitely higher usage, but I would like to see the same crushed limestone surface like the GAP trail in PA. The GAP trail is still very primitive and rustic, just without the mud. I cannot argue anyones desire to preserve history, just hoping for a little compromise here.

Dave from Grand Rapids, Michigan on 12/30/2019 1:24:59 PM:
For what it is worth, we are starting to use crushed asphalt rather than crushed limestone on rural rail trail sections in Michigan. It provides a firmer riding surface, drains better, and therefore doesn't get muddy. It has the feel of nicely compacted gravel road. I prefer to paved asphalt for the reasons mentioned above; it maintains a rural feel with out the hassle of washouts. Considering riding the C&O / GAP trail this summer for the first time!

Rivnuts from Homestead. PA on 12/30/2019 9:53:16 PM:
As noted in an earlier post following my ride from Pgh to DC last October, I concur with Dave's observations of the characteristics of the crushed asphalt resurface. I rode the section between Shepherdstown and Brunswick during a steady rain and was very pleased with the improved ride quality of that surface compared to the natural, unimproved trail in route to that section. I'll leave the debate concerning whether such a surface is appropriate to maintain the history of the Towpath to a separate discussion.

Mapman from Naples Fl on 1/10/2020 10:51:56 AM:
I have ridden the Canal 16 times. From totally dry condition to ankle deep water. To see riders complaining about a better surface being put down blows my mind. Be happy that in this political climate any work is being done on the Canal at all. The NPS tends to spend its very limited budget on the big name parks (Yellowstone, Grand Canyon) neglecting others like the Canal. Any surface improvement should be appreciated. Enjoy the ride.

John from Pittsburgh on 1/10/2020 9:31:37 PM:
If it could be funded, I would welcome a crushed limestone resurface for the entirety of the C&O (similar to the GAP) where mule paths or dirt trails currently exist. Too many people avoid or cancel trips on the C&O after rains because of it's poor condition. If resurfaced there would be no more questions about what kind of bike to use, what kind of tires do I need, will I fall because of the mud or strike a hidden-under-the-puddle tree root, etc. I realize that crushed limestone after rains can be soupy in spots but it drains so much better and maintains a good, consistent riding surface so much better. I understand the historic aspect of the C&O and respect that opinion. But all of the surrounding parts outside of the part you walk or ride on would remain intact. The Birders, photographers, hikers, etc. will all still be seeing the same things just with better footing. I feel most bike tourists would welcome this improvement to the surface by a wide margin if asked. Just my opinion...

telo from Robinson Twp on 1/12/2020 2:40:48 PM:
I too would like to see some type of improvement to the tow path surface. Crushed limestone really works well on the GAP, but it may not be as effective on the C & O. The GAP was built on top of 100 years of railroad ballast build-up. This extremely porous rock material provides an excellent subbase that greatly facilitates positive drainage and surface stability. The C & O does not have the benefit of this porous rock subbase, only compacted soil. In my opinion, crushed limestone would be a big improvement here, but may require a little more upkeep and maintenance than the GAP due to the makeup of the subsurface materials. In any case, I'm an old retired civil engineer that had to cancel last year due to all the rain and the Brunswick washout. I'm running out of time, so here's hoping some improvements are done soon.

John W. from Pittsburgh on 1/16/2020 10:18:20 PM:
Interesting information about the railroad ballast Telo! I had not considered that. No wonder the GAP drains so nicely. That said, any resurfacing of the C&O would be welcome by me!