Recently Georgetown University sent an email to all students, requesting them to sign a petition in support of a GU boathouse for a location within the C&O Canal National Historical Park.
However, we should recognize that many people in the community -- environmentalists, hikers, boaters and even women voters -- have expressed concern about this project because of its potential significant impact to the Park. While they recognize the need for a GU boathouse, they believe a location outside the Park would have many technical, environmental and practical advantages, including protection of parkland and safety.
If you believe that (1) the National Park Service should conduct a full Environmental Impact Statement for the GU boathouse that will provide further analysis of the environmental consequences to the Park from the proposal, as well as serious consideration of alternative locations, sizes and uses for the boathouse outside the C&O Park, and (2) Georgetown University should recognize nationwide people\'s concern as well as our neighbors\', and better communicate with them, and seriously consider every possible alternatives, rather than holding to the current plan, please sign the petition below.
Note that the National Park Service invites public comments on the proposal until June 15 at
*** Please read more about our concerns and alternatives as well as **NEWS** at the right side of this page ***
We are Georgetown University students who share strong concern on destruction of our beautiful view of the C&O Canal National Historical Park and Potomac River. We need to have the plan revised reflecting clashing views with more public inputs before reaching the final decision.
Send us any comments or suggestions. We need your help to make it better! firstname.lastname@example.org
**NEWS** GU has hired a lobbyist to represent it in connection with the boathouse issues. The firm is the Carmen Group, high powered, usually identified for federal issues - first-rate connections with GOP contacts. We know at least that our infamous alumnus Mr. Abramoff was not engaged in the issue. However, we don\'t know how much will we pay for them from our tuition. We will get back soon when get more information.
Consider how our beautiful view of the C&O Canal National Historical Park and Potomac River would be destroyed and replaced by an enormous boathouse.
There are twenty one organizations who share strong concern and ask us, Georgetown University, to think about other designs or locations.
While we understand current frustration of Georgetown Crew members, we should make prudent decision since it will be a very crucial precedent to construct a building within National Park area.
You can read Environmental Assessment prepared by National Park Service. There are many pictures suggesting how this project may destruct environment and scenic views. They will accept public comments on it by June 15.
The National Park Service should conduct a full Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the enormous private Georgetown University (GU) boathouse proposed for the C&O Canal National Historical Park that will:
1. Provide further analysis of the environmental consequences to the Park from the proposal; and
2. Take a hard look at alternative locations, sizes and uses for the private facility outside the Park.
There are many significant impacts and alternatives that were not adequately discussed in the Environmental Assessment, such as:
A. Significant Impacts:
1. Destruction of a section of wooded tidal floodplain from the construction of a building the length of a football field at the narrow and fragile entrance to the C&O Canal National Historical Park, the Capital Crescent Trail and Potomac Gorge, and the setting of a precedent for future development in the Park.
2. Congestion at the busy gateway site with safety and traffic issues related to the construction, maintenance and servicing of the private boathouse, as well as the delivery of boats on 60-ft. trailers along a narrow, popular recreational and commuter trail.
3. Potential impacts on nearby historic properties (Washington Canoe Club and Canal embankment).
4. Significant impact on the scenic area from the Key Bridge, the George Washington Memorial Parkway, the Towpath, the Potomac Heritage Trail, the American Discovery Trail, the Potomac Gorge.
5. Hydrological impacts to the area during floods.
6. Direct and indirect impacts on the natural resources, floodplain and wetlands at the site of the proposed private boathouse.
7. Cumulative impacts from the construction of three proposed boathouses in the vicinity of Key Bridge related to current and future rowing program needs.
8. Impact on the pedestrian and vehicular traffic in an already constricted space with no parking at the site.
9. Value of Park gateway site relative to land to be swapped for it,
10. Potential impact on shoreline boaters from a 75-ft. long private dock extending out into the river.
11. Potential impacts on public health during and after construction of the boathouse if the corroding 84-inch diameter sewer line which runs underground at the site is ruptured.
II. Alternative Locations, Uses and Sizes:
1. 34th St. and Water/K Sts. (East Side) - A private Georgetown University boathouse, next to the proposed George Washington University boathouse and public boathouse, on more accessible, already degraded land in need of redevelopment. At this location, GU could sponsor boating programs for the community -- unlike at the \"encumbered\" C&O site, where zoning restrictions prohibit broader use because of the fragile, bottleneck location along Capital Crescent Trail, a busy public recreational and commuter corridor.
2. 34th St. and Water/K Sts. - (West Side) - A Georgetown waterfront \"universal\" boathouse for private and public use, instead of two separate private collegiate boathouses on our constricted waterfront and one (still unfunded) public facility. The boathouse could include a public viewing stand and other public amenities. This alternative offers many land use, environmental, practical, financial and community benefits.
3. Thompson\'s Boat Center - Use university funds to upgrade/expand this public boathouse, where GW and GU are now housed, and increase storage capacity by designing several smaller boathouses and launching areas in the 34th St.-Key Bridge area.
4. Potomac River downstream from Georgetown - Locations at the base of the Kennedy Center, next to Memorial Bridge (at the steps area), or next to the FDR memorial, for example.
5. Anacostia River - Multiple locations on degraded land in need of redevelopment. American University rowing teams are based there.
In addition to an EIS for the GU boathouse proposal, the National Park Service should conduct a comprehensive study of the recreational needs along the Potomac River waterfront before approving the construction of any new boathouses. The non-motorized boathouse plan of l987 is almost 20 years old and needs to be updated. A better boathouse plan would protect the Park while providing boathouses for today and for future generations of boaters.