Town officials discuss options for Potomac River access during boatramp construction

The boat ramp into the Potomac River at the C&O Canal.

by Geoff Fox

Town officials are looking at a possible temporary boat ramp access to the Potomac River once the construction starts at the boat ramp.

That construction can’t begin until the new bridge over the C&O Canal has been replaced.

Mayor Ralph Salvagno and Town Manager Joe Gilbert had been discussing the idea of a temporary access boat launch area prior to the December town meeting.

“When that project starts, there is going to be no direct access,” Salvagno said.

He said close-by sites would have to be looked at, with one being already discussed. The mayor did not say where that was.

Once the bridge is installed, which the C&O Canal National Historical Park said should be next month, Salvagno said the ramp will be reopened.

However, it will be closed again soon so improvements on the ramp can begin.

“We don’t want to create this expectation that it’s available and then lose it right away,” he said.

A temporary launch site, Salvagno said, would be something like a pontoon on the river to get a boat in somehow.

The main thing officials said they would have to do is walk along the river to find the best access point.

Councilman Leo Murray mentioned using Little Tonoloway Creek at the current site as a possible access point, but Salvagno there could be an issue there.

He said some work will be done at the boat ramp and where the creek meets the river.

“That may be what we do,” he said. “But I’m just worried there’s going to be a lot more activity there and that’s not going to be an option.”

Salvagno said it was something to look into.